Morsy leads presidential race in Kuwait, Abouel Fotouh and Shafiq lead in the US

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.

Out of a total of 55,288 valid votes, Mohamed Morsy got 17,139.
At a press conference Sulaiman said that former Brotherhood member Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh came in second with 14,109 or 25.4 percent of the votes, while Nasserist Hamdeen Sabbahi ranked third with 16.3 percent of the votes.
According to the official website for the presidential elections, the total number of expatriate Egyptians who registered to vote is 587,000, of whom 262,000 reside in Saudi Arabia and 119,000 in Kuwait.
Meanwhile, state-run news agency MENA reported that Abouel Fotouh leads the race in the US states of Houston and Chicago, while Mubarak-era minister and general Ahmed Shafiq won the highest votes in New York and Los Angeles.
Egypt’s consul in New York, Youssef Zada, said on Friday that Shafiq ranked first in New York with 1,201 votes, followed by former Arab League chief Amr Moussa with 1,126 votes. Abouel Fotouh and Sabbahi both came next with 952 votes. Morsy got 362 votes.
Alaa Eissa, Egypt’s consul in Houston, said Abouel Fotouh leads the race with 353 votes, two votes ahead of Moussa, who won 351. Next were Shafiq and Sabbahi with 201 and 189 votes respectively. Morsy came in fifth with 120 votes.
Maged Aboul Magd, Egypt’s consul in Chicago, said that there Abouel Fotouh won 386 votes, followed by Sabbahi with 219 votes. Moussa, Shafiq and Morsy came next with 211, 126 and 91 votes respectively.
In Los Angeles, a diplomatic source said Shafiq leads the race with 777 votes, followed by Moussa with 666 votes, Sabbahi with 642 votes, and Abouel Fotouh with 609 votes. Morsy ranked fifth with 102 votes.
Egypt’s ambassador to Washington, Sameh Shoukry, announced on Friday that Abouel Fotouh won 882 votes in Washington. Moussa ranked second with 664 votes, followed by Sabbahi with 661. Shafiq and Morsy came in next with 454 and 300 votes respectively.
According to the rules set by the Presidential Elections Commission, polling stations set up overseas should have begun counting votes after the end of voting at 8 pm on 17 May. The results are to be announced as soon as the vote counting process, which is attended by candidates' representatives, ends.

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

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