(MENAFN - Arab News) Despite long lines and a few glitches in the voting process, Egyptians living in Saudi Arabia have not lost their enthusiasm for participating in Egypt's fledgling democracy.
The large turnout to cast votes on their country's draft constitution in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere has prompted Egypt's Supreme Judicial Committee for Elections to extend voting for two days. Polls overseas will close on Monday at 8 p.m.
Nearly 2 million Egyptians live in Saudi Arabia, including 750,000 in the Western region. Some 80,000 Egyptians are residents of Riyadh, where more than 23,000 votes were cast as of Saturday. In Jeddah, according to Egypt's Consul General Adel El Alfy, it is expected that 40,000 votes will be cast both by mail and in-person at the consulate.
According to El Alfy, Egypt's democratic process is the focus of attention of the entire Middle East and Egyptians must display maturity and reason as they develop their country.
El Alfy also said that only 25 percent of Egyptians living in the Kingdom have registered to vote - the result of many Egyptians working in remote areas and illiteracy. This, said El Alfy, prevented them from feeling a part of the system and resulted in lower registration than desired.
According to the Consul General, many young Egyptians who had just turned 18 came to the consulate to register at the last minute. They were turned away, however, because, upon turning 18, they must notify the appropriate authorities in Egypt to put their names on the voting rolls.
El Alfy summed up the voting process by saying that every Egyptian living abroad, irrespective of their social and professional status and their beliefs, is very much a founder of Egypt's new system. Every time a man or woman comes to vote, he continued, it is a sign of their love for Egypt and their dedication to rebuilding the nation.