Egyptian expats in Saudi gear up to vote in parliamentary polls

Ahram Online, Thursday 17 Nov 2011

Following landmark court ruling, Egyptian nationals in Saudi Arabia prepare to cast ballots in legislative elections, with 80,000 so far registered

In an effort to encourage wider expatriate participation in Egypt's upcoming parliamentary polls slated to begin 28 November, Egyptian nationals residing in Saudi Arabia have launched a Facebook page through which Egyptians can register to vote for their preferred parliamentary candidate.

Some 80,000 Egyptians living in Saudi Arabia have already reportedly registered to vote. The registration period will end on Saturday.

In a landmark decision in October, Egypt's Administrative Court granted Egyptians abroad the right to vote. The ruling was the result of a lawsuit filed by a group of expat Egyptians – including prominent novelist Ahdaf Soueif – against the chairman of Egypt's Supreme Elections Commission, the ruling military council, the prime minister and the minister of interior.

Seen as a long awaited victory for expatriate activists, the court ruling will allow Egyptians abroad to cast ballots in national elections and popular referendums at Egyptian embassies and consulates worldwide.

Prime Minister Essam Sharaf is currently studying a draft law aimed at regulating overseas voting. The law is expected to include regulations for forming general committees, made up of diplomatic officials and foreign affairs ministry representatives, mandated with overseeing the balloting. 

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