CNN’s Zain Verjee Talks to Congressman David Dreier About Egypt’s Elections

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Transcript of segment

ZAIN VERJEE: How organized has the actual voting been?


Well, it appears to be well organized. I mean we’re obviously in the process of observing, so we can’t come to any kind of conclusions.

But I will say I’m going to make an attempt to outdo Jim Clancy. It will be tough, but let me say that I met one woman who said this is the first time in 7,000 years that Egyptians have been able to cast ballots that actually counted. And one man said to me, he was 49 years old. He said this was the single most important day in his life because he was able to cast a vote that will determine the future leadership of his comp — of his country.

But I will say that there was some concern, Zain, over the — over there fact that ballots arrived late at the polling stations. But this has been a great day for the people of Egypt. And I think that tomorrow is going to be interesting and we’re going to be watching very closely.

VERJEE: How widespread were any of the el — irregularities that were observed?

DREIER: Well, you know, there’s no such thing as a perfect election. We don’t have perfect elections in the United States and I’ve led or participated in election observer missions all over the globe. And I — I will say, having seen many of them, you know, it appears that things have – – have gone well.

As I said, the only real concern that came forward was that — that it took a while for some of the — some of the ballots to get to the voting places. But, you know, people are participating in great numbers. I mean one — I was with Ben Wedeman at one spot and he said that he had, at the last election, wait 15 minutes for a voter to even show up. This time, people were in long lines around blocks waiting to get in.

And so this was obviously unprecedented participation. And I think, you know, I — I — I’m — I’m very encouraged and optimistic.

VERJEE: What about things like there being massive lists of names of candidates that were reportedly confusing to some voters?

There were questions about the literacy, too, of voters, and whether the process would be smooth enough for them on those basic but critical logistics.

DREIER: Well, as you know, there — there were, you know, symbols that people had for voting, which was an option there. I wasn’t aware of the — of the list problems. You know, again, there’s no such thing as a perfect election. You know, I’m leading the International Republican Observer Institute’s observer team and — and again, we’ve been all over the — the world looking at this. But I — I think — and we’re going to have teams out again tomorrow. So we’re really only at the halfway point in this first step.

You know, and, also, it’s important to note that the real work is going to begin after the elections when the job and the challenge of creating jobs and getting Egypt’s economy growing again is going to be confronting the — the people who are elected to leadership positions in the country.

VERJEE: U.S. congressman, David Dreier, speaking to us from Cairo.  Thanks so much.

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