All Egyptian expats can vote in March presidential elections regardless of legal status in host countries: Minister

Ahram Online , Monday 22 Jan 2018

File photo: An Egyptian woman casts her ballot in the 2014 presidential election at the Egyptian embassy in Amman, Jordan. (Reuters)

Egypt's Minister of Immigration and Expatriate Affairs Nabila Makram Ebeid said on Monday that Egyptians living abroad will be able to cast their votes in the presidential elections on 16, 17 and 18 March, announcing that all Egyptian expats, including violators of legal status in host countries, will be allowed to vote.

Ebeid explained in a press conference that the ministry is aiming to increase the participation of Egyptian expatriates in the upcoming elections, stressing that all "Egyptian expatriates must bring their national identification card and passports and head to vote at embassies and consulates in their host countries on the days of voting."

Egyptian expats gained the right to vote in homeland elections and referendums for the first time following the 25 January revolution in 2011.

In previous years, Egyptian expats were required to hold valid residency status in their host countries and be officially registered at their respective Egyptian consulates to cast ballots in polls.

In 2017, the government estimated the number of Egyptians who live abroad at 9.4 million out of a population of 104.2 million.

Around 318,000 Egyptians expats voted in the 2014 presidential elections.

Ebied added that the ministry will make provisions in this year's presidential elections for expats who live in politically unstable countries such as Libya and who want to cast their votes.

"In case of a run-off round, scheduled dates for casting ballots will be 19 and 21 April at the same diplomatic mission headquarters where expatriates voted in the first round," the minister added.

Ebied said the Ministry of Immigration and Expatriate Affairs is set to launch a Facebook page by the start of February to act as a communication channel between voters abroad and the National Elections Committee (NEA) on any questions or enquiries related to the elections process.

The minister also said voters should visit the official Egyptian Elections website for information.

Elections are scheduled to start nationwide on 26-28 March, with runs-offs, if they are to take place, scheduled for 24-26 April.

On 31 January, the NEA will publish the preliminary list of candidates in the state-owned Al-Ahram and Al-Akhbar newspapers.

If no run-offs are necessary, the winner will be announced on 2 April.

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