Egyptian expats welcome efforts to grant them voting rights

Expatriate Egyptians in the US welcomed news on Monday that a ministerial committee has agreed to grant them the right to vote in the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections.

The legislative ministerial committee agreed to amend a political rights law to allow expatriate Egyptians to vote. The committee submitted its recommendations to the government for discussion at its next meeting.

Expatriate Egyptians have been unable to vote in elections under the law, in effect before the suspension of the 1971 constitution.

Mokhtar Kamel, vice president of the Coalition of Egyptian Organizations in North America, described the decision as a triumph for expatriates and for the demands they made years ago that were disregarded by the ousted regime.

Sabri al-Baga, spokesperson for the Alliance of Egyptian-Americans, said leaders from the alliance met with Minister of Manpower and Migration Ahmed al-Boraie, who told them he has agreed with Prime Minister Essam Sharaf to grant expatriates the right to vote.

Al-Boraie told al-Baga that his ministry has made a deal to import a specialized e-voting software application from India.

Emad Gad, an expert at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, said expatriate Egyptians should have the right to to vote because they send remittances that contribute to Egypt's national income.

Gad said this decision is a step in the right direction, adding that expatriate Egyptians are key to the country's security.

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