Higher voter turnout abroad may point to surge back in Egypt, says elections commission

An increase in voter turnout overseas may be an indication of a surge in the overall turnout in the second round of the parliamentary elections, High Elections Commission (HEC) spokesperson Omar Marawan claimed in a Monday press conference. 

Voter turnout among Egyptians voting abroad increased by 22 percent in the second stage of the elections, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement Monday.

The ministry added that a total 37,168 voters cast their ballots in the second stage, compared to 30,531 in the previous round.

With the parliamentary elections generally attracting little attention, the issue of voter turnout has become one of the big stories reported in local and international media.

The HEC’s Marawan said that turnout inside Egypt could not yet be determined — largely because the HEC does not have the technology used overseas to determine details about voters.

“But we can take the increase in the overseas turnout as an indication,” he said. “If there is an increase abroad that can mean an increase in Egypt.”

During the first round of the elections in October, which included 14 governorates, voter turnout amounted to 26 percent in the first round and 21 percent in the subsequent run-offs.

The second round of the elections includes 13 governorates: Cairo, Qalyubiya, Daqahlia, Damietta, Monufiya, Gharbiya, Sharqiya, Kafr al-Sheikh, Ismailia, Port Said, Suez, as well as North and South Sinai.

Marawan reviewed the election process on Monday, the second day of voting, before announcing that voting hours will not be extended.

Twenty-four polling stations opened late on Monday while five judges were replaced, four of whom were relieved of their duties because of exhaustion, and one because of a family bereavement, he added.

Marawan said the HEC had received 75 complaints regarding the electoral process up until 2 pm.