Over 20,000 Egyptian vote abroad

Nourhan Elsebahy
4 Min Read
The SCC ruling on 1 March ruled the electoral districts law unconstitutional, resulting in the postponement of parliamentary elections until the questioned law is amended. (AFP FILE PHOTO / MOHAMMED MAHJOUB)

Egyptian expatriates began voting abroad on their second day in the second phase of the parliamentary elections in 139 embassies and consulates worldwide.

However, elections were not held in Syria, Yemen, Libya, and the Central African Republic, due to political unrest and security issues.

The Ministry of Interior said the number of voters exceeded 20,000 on the first day and Saudi Arabia had the highest rate of participation, followed by Kuwait then the UAE.

Every Egyptian resident living abroad can vote if they show their personal identification required for their electoral headquarters, as long as their name is registered in the voters’ database. They must hold their national ID that includes their address in Egypt or a passport that carries a valid national identity.

The number of Egyptians living abroad is estimated at 8 million and about 682,000 Egyptian who live abroad have the right to vote.

The turnout of voters abroad in the second phase of Egypt’s parliamentary elections is “expected” to be higher than that of the first phase last month, the head of the committee overseeing voting abroad said in a press conference.

Ambassador and deputy foreign minister Hamdy Loza hopes the number of invalid votes will decrease in the second phase, considering the effort spent on clarifying the voting mechanism.

The embassies of Arab countries opened their doors for Egyptian citizens to cast their votes, including the Egyptian embassy in Khartoum, on the final voting day for Egyptians abroad in the parliamentary elections.

The number of registered Egyptians in Tunisia’s database reached 130, where some did not have a national identification number, and the total number of Egyptians is estimated at 500.

The Supreme Electoral Commission (SEC), headed by Judge Ayman Abbas, announced that polling stations abroad witnessed a larger turnout of voters compared to the first phase, especially in the headquarters in Saudi Arabia, where the total number of voters exceeded all other embassies Saturday.

Official SEC spokesman Omar Marwan said voting abroad began at 9am “according to the timing of each city”, on a regular basis and in accordance with the procedures implemented by the SEC in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The voting process ends at exactly 9pm, according to the timing of each state, and continues throughout Sunday.

In the first phase of the elections, 30,531 people voted abroad, representing a mere 4.5% of the 680,000 potential voters. Some 1,800 of these votes were invalid.

Chairman of the Union of Egyptians abroad in Germany Tharwat Kades told Daily News Egypt that the number of voters in the second phase is much higher than the first phase of the elections: “I am very happy to see this enthusiasm in political participation in Frankfurt.”

Although the number of Egyptians residents in Germany is not high, the rate of voters was high. On the first day of voting abroad, a small number of Muslim Brotherhood members, not exceeding 10 from different Arab countries, with none from Egypt, stood in front of the Egyptian embassy in Frankfurt, Kades said. No violence occurred, and they left shortly afterwards, he added.

“There are three committees in Berlin, Frankfurt, and Hamburg in Germany and all were really secured, offered facilities, and did not witness any sort of protests or violence,” he said.

The elections are considered the final phase of a “roadmap to democracy”, which was announced by Al-Sisi in July 2013, following the military ouster of Islamist former president Mohamed Morsi after protests demanded he step down.

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Nourhan El-Sebahy is a journalist at DNE’s politics section. Just before joining DNE’s staff, she was working as a journalist at El-Watan newspaper “an Egyptian daily independent newspaper”. She holds a Master’s Degree of Journalism and Mass Communication from the American University in Cairo (AUC). She was awarded by Certificate of honor on the Fourth Scientific Day Celebration in 2013 and Graduate Student’s honor at AUC in 2012.
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