The Egyptian presidential race is set to begin abroad in hours, with expatriates in New Zealand are the first to cast their votes.
Polling stations at Egyptian embassies and consulates around the world will open their doors to voters for three days starting Friday March 16.
An electoral silence period came into effect on Wednesday; candidates are not allowed to campaign for themselves in the media.
This is the third presidential election to be held since the January Revolution in 2011; a run-off round, if needed, is scheduled to take place in April.
The vote is the first presidential poll since May 2014 when incumbent President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi won 96.91 percent against his liberal rival Hamdeen Sabbahi.
According to the Egyptian constitution, Egyptian citizens inside and outside the country are eligible to cast votes if they meet the constitutional and legal terms. The constitution sets a maximum of two terms for presidents to serve.
Here is Egypt Today’s guide for Egyptian expatriates to 2018 Presidential election:
When will the election take place?
Voting in the 2018 presidential election in Egypt will commence on March 26, as announced by the National Electoral Authority (NEA) on January 8. Sixty million eligible voters will cast their ballots in the election between March 26 and 28 in Egypt, while expatriates will vote between March 16 and 18.
On February 24, the NEA will announce the final symbols for candidates in the race. Then, the presidential campaigns will officially begin until March 23. No presidential candidate has the right to withdraw from the presidential race after March 1.
On March 14 and 15, the presidential campaigns will stop abroad, as the Egyptian expatriates will cast vote from March 16 to 18.
The results of the first round will be announced on April 2. If there is a need to hold a run-off round, the Egyptian expats will cast their vote again on April 19, 20 and 21. The final 2018 presidential election results are expected to be announced on May 1.
Who are the presidential candidates?
The National Election Authority has approved two official candidates for the 2018 presidential candidate as follows:
1- Abdel Fatah Saeed Hussein Khalil al-Sisi
Sisi is the sixth and incumbent president of the Arab Republic of Egypt. He has been in office since 2014. He was born in November 19, 1954 to two Egyptian parents and got married to his relative Entissar Amer.
Sisi has three sons and one daughter. He has served in the Egyptian Armed Forces from 1977 to 2014. He announced his intention to run for the election during his closing speech at the end of the three-day “Tale of Homeland” conference on January 19, along with his announcement on his official Twitter account. Over 500 MPs have also signed endorsements for Sisi.
2- Moussa Mostafa Moussa
Moussa is the chairman of the Ghad Party. He collected the minimum required endorsements of 20 members of Parliament to run in Egypt’s presidential elections. He claimed that he also garnered the support of 40,000 citizens in various governorates.
Lawyer Samir Elaiwa submitted Moussa’s candidacy documents with the NEA 15 minutes before the deadline for filing the candidacy papers.
Moussa studied architecture in France and heads the Egyptian Council for Arab Tribes. He became the chairperson of the Ghad Party in September 2005, following fierce disputes with the party’s founder, Ayman Nour, who founded the party in 2004.
Who are eligible to vote?
Eligible voters abroad are those whose names are registered in the voters’ database; they can cast their vote using their national IDs or passports with the ID numbers identified.
In October 2017, the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) announced that 9.5 million Egyptians live outside the country, with the majority located in Arab countries.
Egyptian expatriates will cast their ballots in the upcoming presidential election in 139 polling stations in Egypt’s embassies and councils abroad, NEA spokesperson Mahmoud el-Sherif told Egypt Today Wednesday.
Constitutionally, policemen and members of the armed forces are not allowed to cast their votes, as long as they are serving in the state.
On the voting day, Egyptian expats intending to cast vote should show their identification card or national passport to the embassy or the consulate staff members to verify his data.
The expat who already casts a vote abroad is not permitted to re-vote again inside Egypt during the voting period designated for the election inside the territory of Egypt.
How can expats be sure their vote is correctly verified?
The expats’ voting will be null in certain cases as follows:
If no candidate is chosen.
If the voter writes his name on the voting card.
If the voter draws or writes any symbol on the voting card.
If the voter writes an opinion or comment on any candidate.
If the voter uses a pencil, not a pen.
If the voting card is not stamped.
How long does the voting last?
The voting process takes place for 12 hours on the three voting days, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
How many countries will the election take place in?
The 2018 presidential election will be held in 124 foreign countries where Egyptian expatriates exist and live.
How many foreign countries will not witness the election?
Syria, Libya, Yemen and Somalia will not be included in the 2018 presidential election. Therefore, Egyptian expats in these four countries will not be able to cast vote there due to security instability.
State measures to assist expats’ voting
Immigration Minister Nabila Makram said last week that the NEA will be receiving requests and inquiries of Egyptian expats on its website https://www.elections.eg, urging Egyptians abroad to “positively and effectively” participate in the voting process.
Local and international organizations are being registered to observe the elections across Egyptian governorates with the registration deadline set to be on Thursday. For the expatriates’ voting process, it will be supervised by members of diplomatic missions and consulates along with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs staff.