Egyptian embassies in the Gulf countries and Europe have seen a low turnout of Egyptian expatriates during the first day of voting on Egypt’s new constitution, leaving the military backed government in Cairo in a tight zone. The constitution was prepared by the Committee of 50, a group appointed by the interim government after the 3 July coup that deposed Egypt’s first democratically elected President Mohammed Morsi. The committee was mandated to amend Egypt’s 2012 constitution, which had been approved by a public referendum but was rescinded by the leaders of the coup.
The deputy chief of the Universal Union of Egyptian Expatriates, Mohamed Al-Ryyan, said the union has established special operation rooms to monitor the voting process, which started on 8 January and will continue until 12 January. So far, he described the voting turnout as weak.
The voting in Saudi Arabia, which hosts the largest bloc of Egyptian expatriates, has also been described as weak, which is a strong indication that the participation rate in the referendum will also be weak. In Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, the polling stations opened their doors to voters at 9 am on Wednesday; however, the turnout too was poor. In the Qatari capital, Doha, nearly 1,300 Egyptians cast their votes amid tight security measures by the Qatari authorities and Egyptian embassy personnel, with armed security guards present at the voting stations for the first time. The Egyptian Embassy’s media advisor in Amman, Ashraf Kilani, noted that only 100 Egyptians had cast their votes out of the 4,291 Egyptians who meet the criteria to participate in the referendum. Meanwhile, sources claim that the voter turnout in London, as well as other European cities, was also weak.