A quick look at today’s key events in the elections:
- Yesterday, an administrative court ruled in candidate Abu-Ismail’s favor, stating that the Interior Ministry had failed to provide sufficient evidence of his mother’s alleged US citizenship. Based on 1975 nationality law, if Abu-Ismail’s mother did not officially apply for dual citizenship with the Interior Ministry, she is not legally considered a US citizen in the eyes of the Egyptian government, regardless of her legal status in the US. Therefore, official Egyptian documentation of her dual citizenship must be presented; documentation simply showing that she entered Egypt on a US passport or documentation provided by the US government is not sufficient. While this is a victory for Abu-Ismail’s campaign, the question of his eligibility is not yet closed, as the Interior Ministry may appeal the ruling. Furthermore, the final decision rests in the hands of the PEC and, once made, will be beyond appeal.
- Parliament has passed the “disenfranchisement law” in the form of an amendment to existing legislation. If enacted, the law will bar prominent candidates Omar Suleiman and Ahmed Shafiq from competing in the presidential race. However, parliament’s powers are limited, and the law must by approved by the SCAF.
- Voter registration for Egyptians living abroad has officially closed: the final total of registered expat voters is 586,820, over 40% of whom reside in Saudi Arabia.
- Salafi groups have announced their intent to participate in the Muslim Brotherhood-organized rally in Tahrir Square tomorrow. The rally’s stated purpose is to show support for the revolution and its goals, and to protest the nomination of candidate Omar Suleiman, who is considered to represent the old regime. Several youth and revolutionary groups, however, are refusing to participate.
A brief overview of today’s election events & changes:
- Voter registration for Egyptians living abroad closes at midnight GMT on April 11 — 572,204 individuals have registered so far.
- Several candidates and their representatives met Monday at the Wasat Party headquarters to discuss the possibility of a “pro-revolution” consensus candidate. Candidates in attendance included Amr Moussa, Mohamed Selim El-Awa, Ayman Nour, and Hisham El-Bastawisi; Abul-Ezz El-Hariri and Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh sent representatives. Not in attendance (despite receiving invitations) were Mohamed Mursi and Hamdeen Sabbahi. Reports indicate a willingness to rally around a single candidate (the idea is to avoid splitting the vote and better challenge Omar Suleiman), but no agreement has been reached on who that candidate would be. Possible options include Abul-Fotouh, with Sabbahi as vice president, or Moussa, with both Abul-Fotouh and Sabbahi as vice presidents. Attendees also voiced their support of the proposed “disenfranchisement law” which, if passed, would prevent Omar Suleiman and Ahmed Shafiq from competing in the election.
- The formation of the Constituent Assembly has been halted by a court ruling. The assembly is barred from meeting or taking any action pending a further ruling on its legality. Both the Muslim Brotherhood and the Al-Nour Party, who together hold a controlling stake in the assembly as it is currently composed, have spoken out against the decision.
- The “disenfranchisement law” proposed by Wasat Party MP Essam Sultan has been approved by committee; Parliament is expected to convene an extraordinary session tomorrow to discuss the legislation. The law would bar individuals who held leadership/decision-making positions in the last years of the Mubarak regime from participating in politics — including running for president — for ten years. If passed, it would disqualify Omar Suleiman and Ahmed Shafiq — but not Amr Moussa.
- Lawsuits investigating the legitimacy of Abu-Ismail’s and Al-Shater’s candidacies are ongoing. Abu-Ismail is likely to be disqualified following revelations that his mother held American citizenship; Al-Shater’s eligibility is under question due to a conviction by a military court under Mubarak.
- Economic issues continue to plague Egypt and are sure to play a large role in the campaigns and voting. The foot-and-mouth disease epidemic has reached over 74,000 cases, and a strike among silo workers is causing a wheat shortage.
Filed under Abdel Moneim Abul-Fotouh, Abul-Ezz El-Hariri, Ahmed Shafiq, Amr Moussa, Ayman Nour, Candidate eligibility, Candidates & Campaigns, Economy, Egyptians living abroad, Hamdeen Sabbahi, Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail, Hisham El-Bastawisi, Khairat Al-Shater, Mohamed Mursi, Mohamed Selim Al-Awa, Omar Suleiman, Rules & Regulations, The Issues
Today is the last day that Egyptians living abroad can register to vote in the presidential election. At present, 519,497 have already registered, according to the official elections website.
In anticipation of the closing of registration, and perhaps as a result of the political drama that has unfolded the past few days, the number of registered voters abroad has increased significantly. In the past 6 days, over 70,000 have registered to vote.
There are an estimated 6.5 million Egyptians living abroad. Below is the breakdown of the top 20 countries where Egyptians have registered to vote:
According to the official presidential elections website 447,287 Egyptians living abroad have already registered to vote in the May election. Over 40% of these registrants are living in Saudi Arabia, followed by 20% in Kuwait, 10% in the UAE, and roughly 6% and 5% in Qatar and the United States respectively. There are an estimated 6.5 million Egyptians living abroad, which means the number of registered voters has the potential to grow significantly. Below is the breakdown of the top 20 countries where Egyptians have registered to vote.
A campaign has been launched by the UN and the Egyptian government to provide national IDs to millions of disenfranchised Egyptian women. Currently over four million women in the country are estimated to be lacking a national ID card, which effectively prevents them from exercising a number of civil and political rights – including voting. The three-year campaign will provide these women with national ID cards at no cost (cost is a primary barrier for these women to obtain IDs in the first place).
The initial stages of the campaign will focus on about 50,000 women in Qalyubia, Minya and Assiut. The hope is that providing ID cards to these women will allow them to access public services such as healthcare & education, and enable their increased participation in the workforce and the political process.
Although the campaign is set to continue for three years, its initial stages may allow thousands of traditionally marginalized women to vote in May’s elections.