Egypt agrees to allow Egyptians living abroad to vote


Egyptians living abroad will, for the first time, be able to vote in parliamentary and presidential elections due this year after the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, the cabinet said yesterday.

Millions of Egyptians live outside the country, where they study and work. The country of 80 million people has a high unemployment rate, especially among its youth.
“Both Egyptians living in Egypt and abroad will be allowed to vote with their national identity cards,” Justice Minister Mohamed Abdel Aziz el-Guindy told Reuters after a cabinet meeting that discussed the new voting procedures among other issues.

Expatriate Egyptians will be able to vote at their embassies, the prime minister’s media adviser Ahmed el-Seman told reporters.

Egyptians will vote for a new parliament in September in the first election after mass protests ended Mubarak’s 30-year rule in February.

Egyptians will then vote for a new president later in the year. The military council that has ruled Egypt since Mubarak’s ouster must approve the cabinet’s decision on voting before drafting it into law.

The council had approved in March a new law that lifted restrictions on the formation of political parties, freeing up a political scene long dominated by Mubarak’s National Democratic Party (NDP). The NDP was dissolved last week.

Opposition leaders, activists and protesters had said last year’s parliamentary elections, in which the NDP won a majority, was full of abuses and vote rigging which made it the most fraudulent ever under Mubarak’s rule.