Egypt expat presidential voting underway

Ahram Online, Friday 11 May 2012

Over half a million expatriate Egyptians begin their own round of voting Friday for the country's first post-revolution president

Expatriate voting
Egyptian woman voting in 2011's parliamentary elections (Photo: Reuters)

Egyptians living abroad began voting in their respective consulates Friday for Egypt's next president. Polls opened at 8am Friday morning, as stipulated by the Egyptian foreign affairs ministry on Wednesday. Expatriate voters will be able to cast their ballots from 11 to 17 May.

Nearly 587,000 Egyptians around the world have registered to vote in Egypt's first post-Mubarak presidential elections.

Registered voters will be choosing between 13 approved candidates in more than 166 Egyptian consulates abroad, in Egypt's first presidential election since the ouster early last year of longstanding president Hosni Mubarak.

On Tuesday 25 October 2011, Egypt's Administrative Court granted Egyptians living abroad the right to vote, in a ruling on a case filed by a group of expat Egyptians, including the novelist Ahdaf Soueif, and supported by the Hisham Mubarak Law Centre. The case was brought against the chairman of the Supreme Electoral Commission, the ruling millitary council, the prime minister and interior minister.

After the issuance of the verdict, the ruling military council issued a law regulating expatriate voting, and Egyptians living abroad were able to vote in parliamentary elections in November

Nearly half of the registered voters are in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with over 261,000, followed by Kuwait with over 119,000. There are 27,300 registered voters in the United States and 99 in Israel.

Egyptians living abroad can vote in one of two ways. The first option allows expat voters -- who registered to vote between 31 March and 4 April -- to personally go to their consulate and present their national identification card or a document approved by the state in which they reside (a residency visa, valid driver's license, student ID card, etc). Afterwards, voters will sign their names and cast their vote in the ballot box. The second option will be to vote through the mail.

There are between 6.7 million and 10 million Egyptians living and working abroad, according to the latest estimates.

Egypt’s first post-Mubarak presidential poll is slated for 23/24 May, with a runoff vote to be held on 16/17 June in the event that no single candidate wins an outright majority.

The president will be formally named on 21 June.

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