Controversy over participation of non-local voters in elections
The General Secretary of the High Presidential Election Commission (HPEC) Abdel Azizi Salman - YOUM7/Hassan Muhammed

CAIRO: “We will not allocate any polling stations for non-local voters during the second day of the presidential elections,” High Presidential Election Commission (HPEC) Tarik Sheble said in a press statement Monday. “We provided them with the opportunity to amend their residency on their identification cards.”

HPEC decided not to allocate polling stations for non-local voters but many experts blamed the decision for the notable decrease in the participation among Egyptians in the presidential elections Monday and Tuesday.

The statement contradicts the statements issued by Cabinet spokesperson Hossam Qawees that non-local voters will be allowed to participate in the presidential elections during the second day of presidential elections.

Member of presidential candidate Abdel Fatah al-Sisi‘s campaign Hazem Abdel Azeem criticized the decision, stressing that it strongly affected the number of voters during the first day of the presidential elections.

“HPEC was able to resolve the problem of non-local voters, a problem that also affected the constitution referendum in January, but changed its decision for unknown reasons,” Abdel Azeem said on his Twitter account Tuesday.

HPEC had allowed non-local voters to participate in the voting process outside their place of residence during the recent referendum conducted on January 14 and 15. It allocated poll stations for them in each governorate.

Abdel Azeem said HPEC should reveal the reasons that pushed them allow non-locals to vote despite its negative repercussions on Egyptians who live outside their place of residence due to their work or any other conditions.

Former member of Supreme Constitutional Court Judge Tahani Al-Gibali said the decision challenges citizens to perform their national role. She said the responsibility of such a decision should not be limited to HPEC but should extend to interim President Adly Mansour.

“It is very important to find a serious solution for the problem of non-local voters to ensure the participation of over nine million voters in Egypt,” Gibali said in a phone call with Dream channel Monday.

HPEC said that non-local voters should register themselves in the notary offices in the governorates where they would vote to be allowed to participate.

Human Resources Specialist Ahmed Yehia said he lives in Cairo due to his job in a contracting company. “I registered myself in the Notary Office in Cairo to be able to participate in the presidential elections but  I still failed to find my name in the polling stations in the neighborhood where I live,” he told The Cairo Post.

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