Egypt to amend interim constitution to legalize expat voting

Officials plan to amend Egypt's interim constitution to permit expatriates to vote in the upcoming parliamentary elections under the supervision of diplomatic missions abroad, according  to High Elections Commission head Abdel Moez Ibrahim.

The interim constitution that the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) issued in March mandates full judicial supervision over the electoral process.

The Foreign Ministry has informed the commission that allowing expatriates to vote through Egyptian embassies will be "almost impossible due to time constraints and the absence of accurate accounts of the number of Egyptians in each country,” judicial sources told Al-Masry Al-Youm Wednesday.

The same sources stressed that allowing voting abroad without judicial supervision would require changing Article 39 of the constitutional declaration, otherwise the vote would be illegal.

Last week, an administrative court ruled that Egyptians abroad have the right to vote.

The constitutional amendment will exempt Egyptian expatriates from the judicial monitoring requirement, Ibrahim told Al-Masry Al-Youm Wednesday. He added that the commission is currently considering alternate measures to allow Egyptians abroad to vote, including a law replacing judicial supervision with diplomatic oversight.

Abdel Moez also said that within the next few days, Egyptian embassies will start registering expatriate voters, provided that they have their passports or ID numbers.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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