Egyptian companies will provide technology for electronic voting: minister

Adel El-Lakany , Wednesday 20 Apr 2011

Egypt is looking to benefit from Indian expertise but the country will use domestic solutions for upcoming elections, stresses a communications official

Maged Osman

Maged Osman, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, today denied reports Egypt is seeking technological support from abroad to conduct electronic voting in the country's upcoming elections.

He stressed that the Egyptian government and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has full confidence in the ability of local companies to carry out the task, but admitted there may be teething problems when applying the new methods.

"The decision to use electronic voting is linked to the confidence of Egyptian society in this new kind of voting, the cost associated with technological solutions, election duration and the consequences of the logistics,” Osman explained.

Osman will meet tomorrow with S Y Qureshi, the chairman of the Election Commission of India and other members of Qureshi's group.

"This meeting with the Indian side will give the Egyptian government a chance to learn about the international experience of electronic voting," Osman said.

"It's important to hear of the maturity of the Indian experience of voting and the many similarities between the Egyptian and Indian situations, particularly in terms of population and social levels.

"All meetings and ongoing consultations with the Indian side are to identify the pros and cons of the Indian experience of electronic voting, but this does not mean we will resort to Indian technological solutions or non-Egyptian products in the electronic voting process,” Osman added.

The minister said that these meetings show serious steps taken by the Egyptian government to allow electronic voting both for domestic voters and for Egyptians living abroad.

Before introducting the system, however, he said Egypt must communicate with a number of other countries that already use systems for electronic voting so as to learn from their experiences.

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