Low Turnout of Egyptian Expats in Referendum amid ‘Vote By Mail’ Cancellation

The low turnout of Egyptian expats on the referendum is due to the cancellation of the option of voting via mail, Deputy Foreign Minister Hamdy El-Loza said in a phone interview with Egyptian private satellite channel MBC Misr.

Egyptians living abroad were able to send their votes via mail to their designated embassies and councils.

This option was functioning during the 2012 constitutional referendum, but according to El-Loza the Supreme Elections Council eliminated it from the 2014 referendum.

El-Loza predicted that an estimated 100,000 thousand people would vote in the referendum out of the 700,000 eligible voters outside Egypt.

Egyptian expats were able to vote on the draft constitution from 8 to 12 January.

The election committee announced on Saturday that around 64,000 expatriates have voted in the constitution referendum – ten percent of those eligible.

Around 40 percent of registered expats voted in the 2012 constitution referendum, with more than 63 percent voting in favour of the charter.

Ambassador El-Loza, however, said that there was an increase in direct voters compared to those in voting in the referendum of 2012.

Expats won the right to cast votes in elections at Egyptian embassies and consulates following the January 2011 uprising.

The new constitution was drafted after the one approved under former president Mohamed Morsi was suspended on 3 July upon his ouster.

Its approval will complete the first step in the roadmap that envisages parliamentary elections and a presidential vote mid-2014.

Source: Ahram Online