The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said Sunday that Egyptians living abroad have flocked to embassies to cast their votes in the first elections following the ouster of Hosni Mubarak in February.
The first stage of the People Assembly’s elections, which begins in Egypt on Monday, has already started overseas after a court ruling obliged the government to grant expatriates the right to vote.
“We have a large turnout abroad. The scene resounds with national pride, given that it is the first time for decades, or maybe in our history, that foreign-based Egyptians became eligible to vote,” Ahmed Ragheb, assistant foreign minister for expatriate affairs, told Ahram’s Arabic portal.
“Around 106,000 Egyptians have already voted in the first stage out of 160,000 eligible voters. I expect the percentage to reach or even exceed 80 per cent by the deadline (of Sunday midnight).
“Egyptians living in Saudi Arabia had the biggest chunk, with 20,000 votes until Sunday morning. Next in the list are the United Arab Emirates (10,000 votes), Qatar (4,500), Kuwait (3,500), Australia (1,890) and the United States (1,500).”
Ragheb also had words of praise for the Egyptian embassies, saying they are working “in very difficult conditions”.
“The embassies are exerting a lot of effort to complete the process, given the limited time and facilities,” he said.
“The process is successful; there are no complaints from any Egyptians. The turnout will get even better during any coming rounds."
Salafist party Al-Nour had another view, however, saying that voting in some Arab Gulf countries was carried out without the supervision of an embassy representative.
“We have filed a complaint with the Supreme Elections Committee to annul the votes already cast. We also want to suspend the whole voting process abroad,” the party’s legal advisor Talaat Mrazouk, said.