The first ballots for Egypt’s constitutional referendum were cast today. Egyptian citizens living abroad began voting in elections on Wednesday, choosing whether or not to accept the country’s proposed draft constitution.
Approximately 586,000 Egyptians living abroad are eligible to vote in the controversial referendum.
The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that Egyptians living abroad had the option of either going to their embassies to cast their ballots in person or by post.
Those posting their ballots are required to print a copy from the website of the Elections Commission and send it with a copy of their Egyptian identification cards. Citizens who had been registered for the last presidential elections are the only eligible voters for the referendum, as the ministry cited a law saying new voters could not be registered for the referendum.
Many Egyptian embassies will extend hours of operation from 8am-8pm in order to enable the maximum number of voters to participate in the referendum.
Voting at Egyptian embassies and missions throughout the world will continue until 15 December, on the same day citizens in Egypt will cast ballots to determine the future of the proposed constitution.
In the first round of the presidential elections in May 349,006 voters submitted ballots abroad while 301,720 participated in the second round. Eventual winner Mohamed Morsy decisively won aggregate expatriate support in both rounds, gaining strong backing from high numbers of voters in Saudi Arabia and Gulf States.
Expatriate voting was originally scheduled to commence on Saturday, but was postponed to Wednesday.