Minister announces Egyptian expats’ right to vote in presidential elections

Minister of Manpower and Migration Aisha Abdel Hady's announcement to grant Egyptian expatriates the right to vote in next year's presidential election has been met by widespread approval.

The Union of Egyptians Abroad on Wednesday requested leaders of Egyptian expatriate communities, organizations and clubs start compiling figures on the number of Egyptians affiliated with them who are able to vote.

Legal scholar Yehia al-Gamal said he would present the voting demands of Egyptians living in the US to the Egyptian government if Aisha's announcement proves to be valid. Al-Gamal says he is waiting for concrete guarantees before contacting Egyptians residing in the US. 

Meanwhile, the Alliance of Egyptian Americans (AEA) launched a campaign to contact relevant officials to coordinate necessary steps to actualize voting for Egyptians residing abroad.

President of the U.S. Copts Association Michael Mounir urged Egyptian officials to allow expatriates the right to choose a representative in the diaspora. 

In a related context, Hany Aziz, adviser to the Minister of Manpower for migration affairs and Egyptians abroad, ruled out the possibility of permitting Egyptian expatriates to vote in the People's Assembly elections because the poll is "based on very local constituencies."

Aziz also said the right to vote in the presidential elections will be granted "to Egyptians only, and not to those who have obtained other nationalities." He also stressed those living abroad should apply for national identity cards from their embassies and consulates in order to establish proof of their voting rights.

President of the Administrative Council of the Union of Egyptians Abroad Mohamed Rayan said the organization demands the government coordinate with Egyptian consulates globally to record the number of Egyptians residing in each respective country in an effort to accommodate them in 2011.

Rayan in exclusive statements to Al-Masry Al-Youm added that the union said Egyptian expatriate communities have been striving toward the right to vote for more than 25 years. The announcement "has elicited positive responses on all levels among Egyptian communities," said Rayan.

AEA representative Sabri Baga told Al-Masry Al-Youm that his organization is communicating with the office of the Minister of Manpower, president of the Supreme Elections Council Judge Sayyed Amr, minister of the Councils of Prosecution and Constitutional Affairs Moufid Shehab, and director of Elections Administration in the Department of the Interior Major General Rafaat Qumsan.

Baga confirmed that the AEA will also be in touch with Egyptian expatriate groups to organize voting arrangements and procedures.

Translated from Arabic Edition.

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