[JURIST] An Egyptian court ruled Saturday that private monitoring groups can observe next Wednesday's presidential poll, the country's first multi-candidate election [JURIST report]. The court held that the state election committee, which had opposed outside monitors [JURIST report], does not have the authority to decide the issue. Egyptian President Honsi Mubarak [Wikipedia profile], who had also opposed monitoring and is expected to be reelected, told the newspaper Al-Masry al-Youm that "Nothing can be hidden in the era of the open skies. The elections will be free, fair and transparent." The court also ruled on 39 other election provisions and sent several to the Supreme Constitutional Court, including a requirement that candidates collect signatures from Mubarak officials before being allowed to run. Both decisions are subject to appeal. AP has more. Egyptelection.com has local coverage. Meanwhile, six Egyptian rights Saturday groups urged citizens to vote against Mubarak because of the lack of guarantees that the election will be fair [JURIST report]. Reuters has more.
2:27 PM ET - The Egyptian electoral commission says it will persist in banning private monitoring groups, defying the court decision. BBC News has more.