Egypt’s National Elections Authority (NEA) said in a press conference on Friday afternoon that thousands of Egyptians have started voting in embassies and consulates in 118 countries around the world at 9am local time to choose the country’s next president.
President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and Moussa Mostafa Moussa, the head of the Ghad Party, are the only two candidates on the ballot. The vote will start in the remaining countries 11 at 9am local time. In the Arab Gulf countries of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait and Qatar, where large numbers of Egyptians work and live, voters used tablets to cast their ballots, the NEA spokesperson Mahmoud El-Sharif told reporters.
“According to Egyptian law, all Egyptians abroad, regardless of residence status and regardless of type of visa, have the right to vote in the elections,” El-Sharif stressed. The NEA said Egyptian diplomats in Qatar have coordinated with Qatari officials to ensure a smooth voting operation for Egyptians who work in the Gulf country.
“We are monitoring the elections in 16 countries via audio and video conference,” El-Sharif added. “There was heavy voter turnout in countries such as Saudi Arabia, but this is still the first day in the polls, which will last till the 18th.” Egyptians at home are set to vote 26-28 March.
For expatriates, run-off voting, if necessary, is scheduled between 19 and 21 April, and in Egypt between 24 and 26 April. If no run-off is necessary the winner will be announced on 2 April. In the 2014 presidential election, 317,109 Egyptians abroad voted, with more than 90 percent casting ballots for El-Sisi against his sole contender, leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi.
CAPMAS announced in 2017 that 9.5 million Egyptians live outside the country. Around 6.2 million Egyptians live in Arab countries, while 1.6 million are located in North and South America. Some 1.2 million are in Europe and 340,000 reside in Australia.