Egyptian expatriates began voting in the 2018 Egyptian presidential elections on Friday morning in embassies in 118 countries around the world.
All Egyptians living abroad will be able to cast their votes in this year's presidential elections – 16, 17, 18 March – regardless of their legal status in host countries.
Deputy Foreign Minister Hamdy Loza has called on Egyptian expatriates to turn out and vote in the presidential elections, in which President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi is running for a second term against Ghad Party chief Moussa Mostafa Moussa.
Expatriate voting in Egypt's presidential elections is being held in 124 countries around the world, with 139 election committees in embassies and consulates, between 16 and 18 March.
Supervising the voting process are 786 members of the Egyptian missions.
Loza highlighted the successful coordination between the Egyptian embassies, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Electoral Authority in Cairo on organizing the voting process.
Expatriates will need a national ID card or valid computerized passport to be eligible to vote.
Polling stations are open from 9am to 9pm on each of the three election days.
Votes will be collated inside embassies and diplomatic missions and the results sent to the National Electoral Authority.
NEA says process smooth
Egypt's National Elections Authority (NEA) said in a press conference on Friday afternoon that thousands of Egyptians have started voting in embassies and consulates in 118 countries around the world at 9am local time to choose the country's next president.
The vote will start in the remaining 6 countries at 9am local time.
In the Arab Gulf countries of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait and Qatar, where large numbers of Egyptians work and live, voters used tablets to cast their ballots, the NEA spokesperson Mahmoud El-Sharif told reporters.
"According to Egyptian law, all Egyptians abroad, regardless of residence status and regardless of type of visa, have the right to vote in the elections," El-Sharif stressed.
The NEA said Egyptian diplomats in Qatar have coordinated with Qatari officials to ensure a smooth voting operation for Egyptians who work in the Gulf country.
"We are monitoring the elections in 16 countries via audio and video conference," El-Sharif added.
"There was heavy voter turnout in countries such as Saudi Arabia, but this is still the first day in the polls, which will last till the 18th."
In Saudi Arabia, where the more Egyptian expatriates reside than anywhere else, a large number of citizens cast their ballots in the Egyptian consulates in Riyadh and Jeddah, lifting banners of "Long Live Egypt."
Nasser Hamdi, Egypt's Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, affirmed a very high turnout in the voting process since the polling stations opened their doors at 9am.
Hamdi said during a phone call with ONTV channel's morning program that lines of voters extending for one kilometre could be seen since 8am.
"People came in groups and from very long distances to cast their votes for the sake of Egypt," the ambassador said, noting that a large number of women were among the voters.
About 3 million Egyptians reside and work in Saudi Arabia, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), Egypt's official statistics agency.
Egyptian expats vote in Egypt presidential elections on 16 March 2018. Saudi Arabia
In Kuwait, where nearly 600,000 Egyptian reside, thousands of citizens headed to the Egyptian embassy in Kuwait City, casting their votes while singing the famous Egyptian Special Army Forces anthem What Did They Say while waiving the Egyptian flags.
Lines extending for three kilometres were seen in front of Kuwait's polling station.
The Egyptian Ambassador to Kuwait Tarek El-Kouny saluted voters, praising their patriotism and civil behaviour.
Egyptian wait to enter embassy to vote in Egypt presidential elections. Kuwait. 16 March 2018.
Egyptian expats have been voting at the Egyptian embassy in Baghdad amid a festive atmosphere, Egyptian ambassador to Iraq Alaa Mousa said in a statement, state news agency MENA reported.
Private Egyptian TV channel CBC Extra news reported on Friday that Egyptians in Iraq were keen on participating in the poll, travelling to Baghdad from several cities despite the unrest in the country.
There were around 22,000 Egyptians in Iraq in late 2016, according state statistics agency CAPMAS.
The deputy head of the Egyptian Community in Lebanon Tawfik Helmy said that there has been a high turnout by Egyptian expats in Lebanon at the Egyptian embassy in Beirut.
In late 2016, Egyptian expats in Lebanon were estimated at 40,000.
In Jordan, where 1.5 million Egyptians reside, polling stations in Amman received crowds of voters early on Friday to express their will, carrying Egyptian flags and singing patriotic Egyptian songs.
Egypt's ambassador in Jordan, Tarek Adel, said in a press statement that all technical, logistical and organizational preparations are facilitated to Egyptians in Jordan to cast their votes on Friday and over the upcoming days.
Egyptians vote in Jordan
In large numbers as well, Egyptian citizens living in the United Arab Emirates headed on Friday morning to the Egyptian Consulate in Dubai to vote in the presidential elections.
The embassy and consulate opened at 9 am UAE time, and voting is scheduled to continue until 9 PM on each of the three days of voting.
Egyptians in the Emirates comprise 12 percent of Egyptians living in Arab countries, numbering 765,000.
Voting in Abu Dhabi and Dubai has been extended due to the high voter turnout, according to the Egyptian ambassador.
Egyptian expats vote in Egypt presidential elections on 16 March 2018. Dubai, UAE.
Meanwhile in Doha, the Head of Egypt's Diplomatic Mission in Qatar, Ahmed Ezzat, said in special statements to Ahram Online that Egyptian citizens turned out in unprecedentedly large numbers to cast their votes since polling stations opened their doors on Friday early morning.
"A large number of citizens came along with their children to express their will," Ezzat added, praising voters' civil behavior and keenness on practicing their democratic right.
Around 300,000 Egyptians reside and work in Qatar, according to statistics compiled by the Egyptian Ministry of Immigration and Expatriate Affairs 2017.Back home in Egypt, the voting will be held between 26 and 28 March.
Egyptian Voters in Qatar sing for one of the martyrs of Egyptian Armed Forces
No voting in Yemen and Libya
Estimated in the hundreds of thousands, Egyptian citizens in Yemen and Libya were not able to cast their votes due to the deteriorated security situations in those countries.
In Britain, despite the fact that Friday is a working day, private satellite TV channel Al-Ghad reported the presence of dozens of Egyptian expats voting at the embassy in London.
Some 26,500 Egyptian expats live in the UK, according to a 2016 CAPMAS report.
In the Netherlands, the Egyptian ambassador in Amsterdam said that the embassy has been receiving large numbers of voters since morning.
Some 45,000 Egyptians were registered as living in the Netherlands in late 2016.
The Egyptian embassies in Rome, Berlin and Paris were the first Egyptian missions in Europe to open for the polls.
Egyptians ready to vote in Paris
Egyptian ambassador to Tokyo Ayman Kamel said that Egyptians are participating in the vote despite bad weather, MENA added.
Around 1,840 Egyptians live in Japan.
The Egyptian embassy in New Zealand was the first to open its doors to voters on Friday morning (Thursday 9 PM Cairo local time).
The US and Canada
On Friday afternoon, Egyptian embassies in Washington and Ottawa opened their doors for Egyptian expats to cast their ballots on the first of three days of voting in the 2018 presidential elections.
Egyptian expatriates in the US are estimated at 981,000, while in Canada there are some 600,000 Egyptians.
Egyptian expats vote in Egypt presidential elections on 16 March 2018, New York, USA. (Photo: Courtesy of the Egyptian Foreign Ministry Facebook page)
For expatriates, run-off voting, if necessary, is scheduled between 19 and 21 April, and in Egypt between 24 and 26 April. If no run-off is necessary the winner will be announced on 2 April.
In the 2014 presidential election 317,109 Egyptians abroad voted, with more than 90 per cent casting ballots for Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi against his sole contender, leftist figure Hamdeen Sabahi.
CAPMAS announced in 2017 that 9.5 million Egyptians live outside the country.
Around 6.2 million live in Arab countries, while 1.6 million are located in North and South America. 1.2 million are in Europe and 340,000 reside in Australia.