Polls close for expats in 2018 Egyptian presidential elections

Voting for expatriates in the Egyptian presidential elections concluded in embassies and consulates around the world on Sunday, one week before polls are set to open domestically.

Voting in Los Angeles and Canada will close on Monday due to the time zone difference.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Moussa Mostafa Moussa, the head of Ghad Party, are the two candidates on the ballot in the 2018 presidential elections.

Voting abroad took place in 124 countries from 16 to 18 March, with Egyptians at home due to vote from 26 to 28 March.

Polling facilities in most countries opened for voting at 9am local time on Sunday and closed at 9pm.

Mahmoud El-Sharif, spokesman for Egypt’s National Elections Authority (NEA), said on Saturday that there had been no early indicators of the turnout, but he revealed that Egyptian communities in Arab Gulf countries turned out in large numbers.

El-Sharif said that no complaints had been received over the first two days of voting, adding that the elctoral process had been well organized.

On Saturday, the NEA said that the voting process abroad had been satisfactory thus far.

Vote counting is due to begin immediately after polling stations close on Sunday, in the presence of representatives of the candidates, election monitoring bodies and some embassy staff.

However, the tallies for expat votes will be announced as part of final results on 2 April.

In a press conference on Saturday, Deputy Foreign Minister Hamdi Loza called on Egyptian communities worldwide to continue participating in the elections.

Since the start of the vote on Friday, several videos have been shared online from embassies worldwide showing Egyptian men and women celebrating while voting, playing patriotic songs and wearing clothes in the colours of the Egyptian flag: red, white and black.

According to Egyptian law, all Egyptians abroad can vote in the 2018 elections, regardless of their visa status, whether residents, non-residents or tourists.

Around 9.5 million Egyptians out of a population of 104 million are living abroad.

All Egyptian expats can vote in March presidential elections regardless of legal status in host countries. There are no official figures on how many expats are eligible to vote.

The total number of eligible voters in the national voter database is 59 million, according to NEA statistics.

In Egypt’s 2014 presidential poll, which Sisi won by a landslide, around 318,000 Egyptian expatriates cast their votes.

Source: Ahram online

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