Egyptian authorities have denied permission to eight American nonprofits to operate locally, the Associated Press reports. Nonprofits subject to the order include the Carter Center, which monitors elections and had planned to oversee upcoming elections in the country.
The move raises questions about whether next month's presidential election, the first since the 2011 ouster of longtime Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, will be transparent and fairly contested. The months leading up to the election have been marked by tension, especially after the country's election commission disqualified ten candidates, including the two top Islamist front-runners.
According to an official from the Ministry of Social Affairs, the groups in question were denied operating licenses because their activities "breach the country's sovereignty." The official also said that any attempt by the organizations to operate without permits would be met with penalties in accordance with Egyptian law.
Earlier this year, Egypt and the United States found themselves in a bitter dispute that threatened to disrupt the thirty-year alliance between the countries after dozens of NGO officials, including sixteen Americans, were arrested on similar charges.