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Egyptians working abroad want to vote

No exact date has been set for the presidential election in Egypt

Gulf News

Cairo: Having arrived in Cairo for a brief family reunion, Sa'ad Abdul Gafour, who works at a private school in Saudi Arabia, thought that it was not the right time for him to bask in a holiday mood. His current visit is the first since a popular revolt forced long-standing president Hosni Mubarak to step down in February.

"Little attention is accorded by the Egyptian government to giving millions of Egyptian expatriates the right to vote in the coming parliamentary and presidential elections," said Abdul Gafour as he gathered along with dozens outside the headquarters of the Egyptian Cabinet in central Cairo. They rallied to demand the government to take "practical" steps to allow them to vote in the parliamentary polls, which are due to begin on November 28. No exact date has been set for the presidential election in Egypt.

"We are pumping millions of dollars into the country. So it is confusing that neither the officials nor the politicians are willing to help us get this long-denied right as is the case with expatriates of other countries," he told Gulf News.

"The election process cannot be complete and fair without allowing us to exercise our right to vote."

Egypt's Assistant Foreign Minister for Expatriate Affairs, Ahmad Ragheb, said in Cairo recently that the numbers of Egyptians working in around 30 countries range from 9 to 10 million.

"The foreign ministry is quite ready to enable the Egyptians abroad to vote," Ragheb said. He said it could be conducted via the internet, voting in Egyptian embassies abroad or through special electoral commissions.