Egyptian minister backs expats' right to vote in presidential elections

11:15, August 01, 2010      

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An Egyptian minister said Saturday he supports the right of Egyptian expatriates to vote in the coming presidential elections.

Moufid Shehab, Egypt's Minister of Legal Affairs and Parliamentary Councils and assistant secretary general of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP), said in statements that Egyptian expatriates have the right to cast their vote in the upcoming presidential elections at ballot boxes in the country's embassies and consulates around the world, state-run MENA news agency reported.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian minister ruled out the possibility that the Egyptian expatriates would cast their votes in the upcoming parliamentary elections due to the difficulty of counting all Egyptians living abroad.

The Egyptian parliamentary elections are due late this year while the presidential elections will be held next year.

Last Sunday, Shehab said that NDP will hold a conference in May or June of 2011 to choose its candidate for the presidential elections.

Egyptian People's Assembly, the lower house of parliament, passed in May 2005 a major constitutional amendment which allowed more than one candidate to run in the presidential elections for the first time in the country.

Under the amendment, leaders of legally registered political parties could compete in presidential elections, but independent candidates must get the backing of at least 250 elected members of parliament and local councils, including 65 members of the People' s Assembly and 25 of the Shoura Council, upper house of parliament.

The president was not elected directly by the electorate before the 2005 amendment. Instead, the parliament chooses a sole candidate first and then the only nominee is put to a referendum for approval.

On May 28, NDP Secretary-General Safwat el-Sherif said all the party bases are unanimous on nominating incumbent President Hosni Mubarak in the next presidential elections.

Mubarak, 82, took power in 1981 and is now in his fifth presidential term. There has been much speculation over whether or not he will seek a sixth term.

On March 6, Mubarak received a successful surgery in Germany to remove the gall bladder and a benign tissue.

Source: Xinhua


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