BRUSSELS, May 19 (UPI) -- The European Union announced Monday is would monitor Egypt's presidential elections next week, contrary to earlier reports it would play a more limited role.
The EU suggested, over the weekend, that delays by Egypt in providing telecommunications equipment and services to observers would curtail monitoring activities, but Mario David, chief EU observer, said Monday the delays were merely "paperwork and bureaucratic steps."
"I'm sure there was no intention whatsoever from the Egyptian authorities to block our work," he said.
Another observer, the U.S.-based Carter Center, which observed Egyptian parliamentary elections in 2011 and its presidential election in 2012, said it would send a small mission to Egypt this year to focus on broader legal and political context, rather than witnessing Election Day procedures.
The Carter Center, in a statement, said its concerns included the lack of a "genuinely competitive campaign environment" and a political polarization that it said hampered Egypt's conversion to democracy.
The presidential election is contested by former Field Marshal Abdel Fattah Sisi, and liberal politician Hamdeen Sabahi. Sisi is widely expected to win.