File photo: Egyptians vote in Australia (Photo: Ahram)
Egyptian expats in 124 countries will start voting in the first phase of the parliamentary elections on Wednesday in a race heavily fielded by pro-government party Mostaqbal Watan.
Around 140 polling stations in the country’s embassies and consulates in 124 countries will open for mail-in voting by Egyptians abroad in the first phase starting Wednesday, according to the National Election Authority (NEA).
Egypt’s Minister of State for Emigration Nabila Makram has urged Egyptians abroad to participate in the elections, stressing that voting would contribute to building the state and supporting the country’s political process.
Voting is scheduled for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Voters will select candidates from the individual list system depending on their electoral district, and others from the closed list system.
Registered voters abroad were asked to print their ballot papers on Monday and Tuesday by entering their registration code on the NEA website.
Both ballot papers must be placed in envelopes with a voter declaration, photocopies of the voter’s national ID card or passport, and residency documents. The papers must be sent via express mail to the electoral committee of their country’s diplomatic mission.
The first stage of the elections covers 14 governorates between 21 October and 30 November. These include Giza, Fayoum, Beni Suef, Minya, Assiut, New Valley, Sohag, Qena, Luxor, Aswan, the Red Sea, Alexandria, Beheira, and Marsa Matrouh.
Voting at home is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, with the results announced on 1 November at the latest.
The first stage of election run-offs will be held on 21-23 November for Egyptians abroad, and 23-24 November at home with the final results declared on 30 November at the latest.
A total of 568 seats are up for grabs in the elections, while 28 seats (five percent) will be named by the president, bringing the House's seats to 596.
Unofficial figures suggest 2,000 individual candidates and two coalitions — the National Unified List led by the Mostaqbal Watan Party and the Call of Egypt — will compete in the first stage of the poll in 14 governorates.
Of the 284 seats up for grabs in this stage, half — 142 seats — are allocated for individual candidates in 72 districts, and half to party lists in two districts, North, Middle and South Upper Egypt (100 seats in 11 governorates) and the Western Delta (42 seats in three governorates).
Thirty-eight political parties are fielding candidates in the two-stage election.
The pro-government Mostaqbal Watan Party, which currently holds majorities in the House of Representatives and the Senate, is fielding 284 candidates, the largest number from any party.
It is contesting all 143 individual districts as well as the four party list districts in the race, eying a second majority status after it secured the Senate elections in August.