Egyptians Expat begin vote in presidential elections

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Egyptians living abroad began voting for the presidential election in their country, a vote for which President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is the big favourite and at the end of which he could begin a third term.

This early election is organized over three days, in 121 countries across the globe, before the opening of voting in Egypt on 10th December, against a backdrop of economic crisis.

The largest Egyptian communities are located in Saudi Arabia, the United States, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.

In Egypt, voting will take place from 10th and 12th December, the winner will be announced on 18th December.

Apart from Mr Sissi, there are three candidates in the running without much popular support: Farid Zahran, head of the Egyptian Democratic and Social Party, Abdel-Sanad Yamama, leader of the Wafd, now a century-old party, and Hazem Omar, head of the Republican People’s Party.

Hisham Kassem, leader of the liberal opposition, was sentenced to six months in prison in October, effectively preventing him from participating in the campaign.

The former parliamentarian, Ahmed al-Tantawi, gathered the hopes of the opposition for a few months before having to give up on 13th October from running for president.

His campaign manager declared that he had only gathered “14,000 signatures” from citizens out of the 25,000 needed to be able to stand on the ballot.

Several of his supporters testified to having been attacked by thugs or prevented from recording their signatures by officials according to them on orders from those in power.

The short-lived Egyptian presidential candidate, as well as several members of his campaign, are due to appear in court next month, accused of having falsified electoral documents.

President Sissi gathered 424 signatures of deputies (out of 596 seats) and 1,135 million signatures of citizens.

The economic question will be the main issue in the vote in a country where two-thirds of Egypt’s 105 million live below or just above the poverty line.

Inflation is running at 40%, the 50% devaluation has caused the prices of goods to jump in recent months almost all imported into Egypt and the recent bonuses and increases announced by the president for civil servants and retirees have only had little effect.

The two previous presidential elections had been won with more than 96% by Mr Sissi, a former marshal who came to power in 2013 by overthrowing the Mohamed Morsi

Africanews/Hauwa M.