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Sunday final day for Egyptians abroad to vote

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Egyptian foreign ministry says a total of 94,000 Egyptians have voted abroad over four days

An Egyptian man living in Oman casts her vote on a divisive draft constitution in Egypt at the Egyptian embassy in the Gulf sultanate's capital Muscat on January 8, 2014. Islamist supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi have called for a boycott of the January 14-15 vote on a new constitution drawn up by the interim authorities since his July overthrow by the army.  (AFP PHOTO/MOHAMMED  MAHJOUB)

An Egyptian man living in Oman casts her vote on a divisive draft constitution in Egypt at the Egyptian embassy in the Gulf sultanate’s capital Muscat on January 8, 2014. 
(AFP PHOTO/MOHAMMED MAHJOUB)

Turnout for Egyptians abroad has reached approximately 94,000, said the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday. The announcement came with one day left for Egyptians to submit their ballots in person at Egyptian embassies and consulates.

Voting for Egyptians across the globe is scheduled to come to a close at 9pm local time at Egypt’s diplomatic missions, according to the statement issued by the foreign ministry, after which the counting of the ballots would proceed.

A total of 64,000 Egyptians abroad had submitted ballots for the country’s constitutional referendum after three days, according to the High Elections Commission (HEC) on Saturday, after three days of open polls.

The polls for Egyptians abroad opened last Wednesday, and the HEC said that it expected turnout to continue to increase on Saturday and Sunday, which are weekend days for most countries.

The total number of voters in Saudi Arabia had reached 20,000 by the end of Saturday, according to state-owned Al-Ahram. Of the Egyptian expats eligible to vote, more than 40% reside in Saudi Arabia.

There are more than 681,000 Egyptians abroad eligible to vote across 161 countries. In previous elections, expatriate voters were able to cast their ballots to the nearest embassy or consulate by mail, but new regulations require a voter to appear in person. This has caused some problems with some Egyptians overseas, especially when embassy or consulate locations were inconvenient to reach.

Spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs BadrAbdelatty previously said that the measures were taken to prevent cover fraud and rigging, adding that establishing polling places outside official diplomatic missions violated the local law in some countries.

So far, this year’s turnout is smaller than that of the 2012 referendum on the constitution, when approximately 41% of eligible voters abroad, over 240,000 voters, submitted their ballots. Over 67% of them voted in favour of the 2012 constitution that was largely backed by the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups.

Polls in Egypt are scheduled to open on Tuesday for two days.


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