Egyptian expats began Wednesday voting in the first phase of the parliamentary elections, as the country’s diplomatic missions completed their preparations in 140 polling stations.
There are about nine million Egyptians abroad, with 65 percent in the Arab region, 13.2 percent in Europe, and 16.7 percent in the Americas, according to official figures.
Embassies and consulates opened for the mail-in voting and voters are required to send their papers via express mail, amid health concerns in light of the spread of the coronavirus.
Egyptian authorities are hoping for a massive turnout, as the average participation in the last parliamentary elections, held five years ago, was at 28.3 percent.
Minister of State for Emigration and Egyptian Expatriates' Affairs Nabila Makram urged Egyptians abroad to participate in the elections, stressing that voting would contribute to building the state and supporting the country’s political process.
Makram noted that the current polls are different given the increased number of women and young candidates. She also indicated that eight parliamentary seats will be for expat candidates.
Makram stated that the ministry's operations room is observing the mail-in voting at Egyptian embassies and diplomatic missions.
She praised the role and efforts of the National Elections Authority (NEA) in facilitating the electoral process, reminding voters to place ballot papers, a voter declaration, photocopies of the voter’s national ID card or passport, and residency documents in an envelope and send them to the diplomatic mission in their area.
The first stage of voting will take place in 14 districts, namely in the governorates of Giza, Fayoum, Beni Suef, Minya, Assiut, New Valley, Sohag, Qena, Luxor, Aswan, the Red Sea, Alexandria, Beheira, and Matrouh. This stage of elections will take place inside Egypt on October 24-25.
Egypt's ambassador to Kuwait, Tarek al-Qouni, announced that the embassy received a large number of ballot envelopes, confirming a high turnout.
Qouni told the Middle East News Agency (MENA) that the participation in Kuwait will exceed that of all Egyptian communities abroad.
In Germany, Ambassador Khaled Galal called on Egyptians to adhere to their constitutional rights and cast their votes.
He noted that it is too early to assess the turnout, adding that numbers will be determined on the last day of elections.