Egyptian expats kick off presidential vote

LEBANON-EGYPT-VOTE

Egyptian expatriates in more than 140 countries on Wednesday began casting ballots in four days of voting for Egypt’s coming presidential election.

The country’s Presidential Election Committee urged Egyptians abroad to participate in the vote, which sees former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Hamdeen Sabahi run for Cairo’s top post.

Egyptian living in Jordan cast their ballot in the early voting for the presidential elections on May 26-27, at the Egyptian embassy in Amman, on May 15, 2014

Egyptian living in Jordan cast their ballot in the early voting for the presidential elections on May 26-27, at the Egyptian embassy in Amman, on May 15, 2014

The commission said in a televised statement on Wednesday that additional polling stations were opened in countries with more Egyptian expatriates.

The official spokesman of the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Badr Abdul Ati said that voter turnout was “heavy” especially in Asian countries.

Salah Youssef, the general coordinator for Egyptians abroad, said the voter turnout is expected to increase through the weekend.

In Saudi Arabia, home to Egypt’s largest expatriate community, Al Arabiya correspondent reported long queues before the polling stations in Riyadh.

Egyptian ambassador to Kuwait told Egypt’s state TV that voting there was going “smooth and without problems.”

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In Dubai, Egypt’s General Consular Sharif al-Badawi said voting was “heavy.” He said the cancellation of the prior registration requirement for voting “gave the opportunity for many to participate in the elections.”

Egyptian living in Jordan cast their ballot in the early voting for the presidential elections on May 26-27, at the Egyptian embassy in Amman, on May 15, 2014.

Egyptian living in Jordan cast their ballot in the early voting for the presidential elections on May 26-27, at the Egyptian embassy in Amman, on May 15, 2014.

Nearly 6-8 million Egyptians live abroad, according to estimated official figures. But only 600,000 expats have registered to vote in the presidential elections.

Voters are required to register their names in voter lists using their national IDs or passports, the committee said.

An Egyptian national residing in Lebanon casts her vote in her country's presidential elections at a polling station at the Egyptian embassy in Beirut on May 15, 2014.

An Egyptian national residing in Lebanon casts her vote in her country’s presidential elections at a polling station at the Egyptian embassy in Beirut on May 15, 2014.

The four-day expat vote ends on May 18 and the presidential vote is scheduled to open at home on 26-27 May.

Sisi is widely expected to garner the highest amount of votes.

Egyptian nuns residing in Lebanon arrive to cast their vote in Egypt's presidential elections at a polling station at the Egyptian embassy in Beirut on May 15,

Egyptian nuns residing in Lebanon arrive to cast their vote in Egypt’s presidential elections at a polling station at the Egyptian embassy in Beirut on May 15,

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