Minister: Expat voting rights present logistical obstacles

Communications and Information Technology Minister Maged Othman said granting Egyptian expatriates the right to vote in upcoming parliamentary elections presents logistical obstacles.

Othman said that although the government recently amended election law to give Egyptians living abroad the right to vote in all elections, it would be easier for them to vote in the presidential elections, as the whole country becomes one electoral constituency. During parliamentary elections, the process becomes more complicated because constituencies are divided into districts. 

“There are Egyptians living in countries that have no elections in the first place, such as the Gulf states,” he said. “How would we manage that logistically?”

Government estimates put the number of Egyptians abroad at around 7 million, with most living in North America, Australia, Sudan, and the Gulf states.

The minister expressed his support for holding parliamentary and presidential elections first if writing the constitution would take a long time.

“The state must be formed and the transition period ended. We cannot deal with the rest of the world if we do not have proper government institutions,” the minister said.

“It is better to have a debate over the constitution under the umbrella of an elected parliament and legitimate head of state, than within a political vacuum,” he added.

Othman, however, said he would agree to drafting the constitution first provided the process lasted no more than a month.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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