Egypt’s Higher Presidential Electoral Commission (SPEC) issued a statement on Tuesday evening in which it announced that second-generation Egyptians born overseas would be allowed to vote – for the very first time – in upcoming presidential elections.
The SPEC also announced that it would coordinate with Egypt’s foreign ministry to provide 100,000 nomination forms to Egyptians living abroad to allow them to nominate their preferred candidates.
According to the SPEC, the documents will be delivered to foreign ministry headquarters on Thursday before being distributed to Egyptian diplomatic missions worldwide. They will then be distributed to Egyptian nationals residing overseas who wish to vote in Egypt’s first post-Mubarak presidential poll.
The SPEC statement went on to note that the names of Egyptian voters living abroad had been collected in a special database.
In Egypt, voters usually submit their national ID cards at polling stations before being allowed to vote. Egyptians living abroad, meanwhile, have the addresses of their overseas residences listed on their ID cards, which up until now had prevented them from casting ballots.
In October of last year, Egypt’s Administrative Court granted Egyptians living abroad the right to vote in national elections, following a lawsuit filed by a group of expatriate Egyptians including prominent novelist Ahdaf Soueif.
The historic court ruling, which allowed Egyptian nationals to vote at Egyptian embassies and consulates abroad, was seen as a victory for Egyptian expatriates who for years had campaigned for the right to vote in parliamentary and presidential elections.