Foreign Ministry denies rigging rumors as expat voting continues for third day

There have been no attempts to influence expat voters or prevent them from voting at Egypt’s consulate and embassies abroad, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Amr Roshdy said on Friday.

Such rumors had already begun days head of the referendum, Roshdy claimed. For instance, it was rumored that 200,000 ballot papers had been printed to rig the referendum in Kuwait, although Roshdy said it has been proven that there are only 60,000 Egyptian voters there.

Voting abroad doesn’t consist of simply submitting the ballot sheet, Roshdy explained. Expat voters also must submit copies of their ID cards, residence visa, secret registration number and an envelope containing the ballot. They also must sign their names on the registration rolls submitted by the High Elections Commission.

The ministry also denounced rumors that the Egyptian embassy in Switzerland had accepted votes by phone. “Using the phone works for the stock market, not for voting,” Roshdy said.

Roshdy also denied claims that the Egyptian Embassy in Riyad had printed flyers calling on citizens to support the draft constitution. “Some of the Egyptian community associations, which lack official ties with the embassy, used its logo on their flyers to convince voters to approve the constitution. Both the ministry and the embassy have denounced this,” he said.

The Foreign Ministry is a national institution to which all Egyptians belong, and which isn’t associated with any political party, Roshdy said. It only aims to help Egyptian expats participate in the voting process.

Amidst these rumors, expat voting continues in several countries on Friday. The Egyptian Embassy in Kuwait opened its doors to voters for the third day. There was a high turnout, with voters assembling in long lines before the embassy opened. The embassy increased the number of ballot boxes and employees to meet this high demand, and embassy employees assisted the voters with their paperwork while waiting in line to save time.

“The constitution draws Egypt’s future. It should express all categories of people. It shouldn’t be written by one faction,” said Nesreen Adel, who voted in Kuwait on Friday. She added that what she read about the constitution in the media was not reassuring. “For this, I voted no.”

Another voter, Omar Hamdy, said, “I voted yes for stability and reviving state institutions. What we have disputes on could be amended later after a period of stability and calm.”

Expats in France also entered the third day of voting at the Egyptian Embassy in Paris and the consulate in Marseille. Voting will continue until 15 December from 8 am to 8 pm, Paris time. There are an estimated 5,542 Egyptian citizens based in France.

Both the Egyptian embassy and consulate receive the envelopes containing balloting papers by hand or mail over the four scheduled days of referendum. The counting process will take place at 8 pm on Saturday. Embassies then sends the results to the elections committee at the Foreign Ministry.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm and MENA

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