(MENAFN - Arab News) Egyptian expatriates in the Kingdom, the largest expat block abroad, have displayed their enthusiasm and keen interest in affairs back home by casting their vote on the referendum of the amended constitution, which kicked off last Wednesday
Men and women from all sections of the Egyptian community have been turning up in significant numbers to cast their votes at the Egyptian Consulate in Jeddah over a period of 4 days.
Arab News spotted several children carrying the Egyptian flag as they accompanied their parents to the polling station in the consulate. The number of voters is expected to surge in the next three days.
"We have 100,500 Egyptians who have registered and are eligible to vote in Jeddah," Adel Al-Elfy Egypt's consul general told Arab News
He said that regular consular services have been closed for five days to facilitate voting at the consulate.
"The Egyptian community in the Kingdom, especially those living in Jeddah, has always shown interest in the affairs back home and their large turnout shows how keen they are to be involved in the political process of their country, " he added. The Egyptian consul general urged Egyptian expatriates to utilize the opportunity to vote as a way of expressing their opinion
However, several Egyptians were turned away by officials as they were not in possession of a voter's registration document or the original passport of their country
More than a dozen counters were set up by the consulate to verify the voters' naes and issue ballot papers to cast their votes
Elaborate security arrangements are in place assisted by the Saudi diplomatic and regular security forces. There are a total of eight checkpoints to enter the consulate premises for the purpose of voting
In Riyadh also, the voting on the referendum started at the scheduled time, Mustafa Abdul Jawwad at the Egyptian Embassy in Riyadh said
He said that approximately 1,600 people had cast their votes by noon in Riyadh
Egyptian expats won the right to cast votes in elections at Egyptian embassies and consulates abroad following the Jan. 25 revolution. The 2012 constitution has been suspended since the ouster of President Muhammad Mursi in July 2013
Amendments were made to the suspended constitution which was passed at a national referendum in Dec. 2012 by a committee appointed by the interim authorities.
According to a roadmap announced by the interim government after Mursi's ouster, a new constitution is voted on before fresh parliamentary and presidential elections.
With a total of 159,222 registered voters, Riyadh is the world's largest Egyptian overseas voting center followed by Jeddah with 100,500.
According to the Supreme Committee for Elections of Egypt's statistics, about 681,695 Egyptian expatriates have registered to vote in Egyptian embassies around the world. 310,000 of them are registered in Saudi Arabia, which is considered the highest number of Egyptian expatriates among the countries of the world