Egyptian Ambassador to Kuwait Abdel Karim Sulaiman on Saturday announced that the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate in the presidential election won 30.9 percent of the votes of expatriate Egyptians in Kuwait, Reuters reported.
Prominent members of the Egyptian community in Britain criticized the Presidential Elections Commission’s insistence that the results of the expatriate vote be announced before the polls open in Egypt.
Omar Ismail, the head the Union of Egyptians in Britain, described the announcement of the results of the expat vote as “a farce and a major political pitfall.” He told the BBC that such announcements will undoubtedly influence Egyptians' voting decisions and hence undermine the credibility of the first pluralistic presidential election in Egypt.
Ismail said that democratic countries only announce the results of expat votes as part of the total vote count, rather than separately.
Shenouda Shalaby, deputy head of the Union of Egyptians in Britain, also said thay announcing the results of the expat vote will affect voting patterns inside Egypt and mean the final results may be questionable.
Magdi Ishaq, deputy chairman of the British-Egyptian Association, said he is shocked by the Presidential Elections Commission’s decision to have the results of expat votes announced first, which does not happen anywhere in the world.
He added that expatriate Egyptians should not be allowed to influence the choices of the bulk of voters in Egypt. “Undecided voters in Egypt might say that expatriate Egyptians enjoy higher levels of awareness and so let us vote for who they will vote for.”
Mostafa Ragab, director of the Egyptian House in London, agreed that announcing the results of the expat vote might help undecided Egyptians make up their minds, but it still constitutes a form of influence on voters.
He said that announcing the results has impacted the integrity of the elections.
According to the two latest opinion polls conducted by the Cabinet's Information and Decision Support Center and Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, Egyptian voters who have yet to make up their minds on who to vote for range between 15.3 to 39 percent.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm and MENA