News / Middle East

Egyptians Living Abroad Cast Votes for New President

Egyptian nationals living in Kuwait stand in line at the entrance of the Egyptian Embassy before voting in Egypt's presidential elections, in Bnaid al-Gar, Kuwait, May 16, 2012.Egyptian nationals living in Kuwait stand in line at the entrance of the Egyptian Embassy before voting in Egypt's presidential elections, in Bnaid al-Gar, Kuwait, May 16, 2012.
x
Egyptian nationals living in Kuwait stand in line at the entrance of the Egyptian Embassy before voting in Egypt's presidential elections, in Bnaid al-Gar, Kuwait, May 16, 2012.
Egyptian nationals living in Kuwait stand in line at the entrance of the Egyptian Embassy before voting in Egypt's presidential elections, in Bnaid al-Gar, Kuwait, May 16, 2012.

WASHINGTON - Voters in Egypt go to the polls Wednesday and Thursday [May 23 and 24] to choose a new president. Ahead of that historic election, Egyptians living overseas have been able to cast their ballots at local consulates and embassies.


In the shade outside of her office in Washington, Nihal Elwan is about to do something she’s never done before. She’s voting for the president of her homeland - Egypt. She has 13 candidates to choose from - including Islamists, leftists and former regime officials - each identified by name and a symbol for voters who cannot read.


"Should the process be transparent, then for the first time, this country will be run by a president who is actually elected. Which is incredible. I mean, it’s incredible," said Elwan.

Egyptians forced longtime president Hosni Mubarak from office last year during the so-called "Arab Spring" uprisings. A military transitional government has ruled Egypt ever since. Sameh Shoukry, the Egyptian ambassador to United States, said the next president must establish stability.


"It’s the institutionalized reforms, laying the foundations of a new Egypt, which I’m sure will not only occupy the president, but all segments of government," said Shoukry.

More than 27,000 Egyptian expatriates registered to vote on the election website. Half of those printed out ballots. Here in Washington, more than 3,000 voted.


Elwan arrives at the embassy to join those thousands. Her identification is checked.

 

She puts her sealed ballot in a plastic bin, numbered 7. It’s the seventh and final day of voting for Egyptians living outside of Egypt. And, many are embracing their new right to freedom of speech.

 

Some voters used the outside of their envelopes to comment on the election. It doesn’t desecrate the ballot or affect their vote, but does make a statement. This one reads "Down with military rule. Long live the martyrs."


Elwan did not write that, but she understands what was lost to gain her new privileges.

"Thousands of people died, and the fact that I get to vote means that thousands of people died for the past year and a half for me to be able to vote, so, that’s just so invaluable," she said.


If no candidate emerges as a clear winner after voters in Egypt cast their ballots, a runoff will take place in June. 


Carolyn Presutti

Carolyn Presutti is an Emmy and Silver World Medal award winning television correspondent who works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters.   She has also won numerous Associated Press awards and a Clarion for her coverage of The Syrian Medical Crisis, Haiti, The Boston Marathon Bombing, Presidential Politics, The Southern Economy, and The 9/11 Bombing Anniversary.  In 2013, Carolyn aired exclusive stories on the Asiana plane crash and was named VOA’s chief reporter with Google Glass.

You can follow Carolyn on Twitter at CarolynVOA, on Google Plus and Facebook.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More