The deadline for Egyptians voting abroad in the referendum on the proposed constitution has been extended until 8pm (local time) on Monday.
The announcement came in a statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) on Friday. The ministry said on Saturday that the extension is to allow more time for postal votes.
The referendum for expats began last Wednesday and was scheduled to end Saturday.
The announcement comes amid a series of claims of voting irregularities in Kuwait, Australia and Sweden.
Karim Kamal, an Egyptian who voted in Kuwait on Saturday said, “the voting boxes are transparent so you can see the envelopes inside and when you put your vote into the box it falls sporadically.” He added, “the bottom third of many of the boxes are stacked very neatly and it looks like somebody has placed them there like that.”
Amr Roshdy, spokesperson for the MFA denied rumours of vote rigging on Friday explaining, “false rumours began to circulate several days before the start of the referendum process, including that 200,000 ballots were printed to rig the referendum in Kuwait.” He pointed out, “it is officially documented that the total number of voters in Kuwait does not exceed 60, 000.”
In Sydney, the consulate general, Ayman Kamel claimed that people have attempted to vote more than once, according to a statement released by the MFA on Saturday. The statement claims that some voters attempted to vote in person but also sent a postal vote, with some sending more than one. The statement said that these people have been referred to the appropriate authorities.
A statement released by the Egyptian embassy in Sweden, denied accusations that the embassy was committing fraud by telephone. The statement said “there is no mass voting and it is naive to claim the existence of the so-called ‘vote by telephone’.” The statement named a man which it believes to have made the claims on social networking sites. The Swedish embassy stated the man is “a liar and is a resident of Cairo, not Sweden.”
These incidents come after the embassy in Saudi Arabia was accused of encouraging people to vote in favour of the proposed constitution, which the MFA denied at the time and reaffirmed its denial in the statement on Friday.
A member of staff at the embassy in Paris confirmed that people demonstrating against the proposed constitution outside the embassy, stalled the referendum process for ten minutes on Wednesday.
Roshdy asserted, “the MFA is an institution owned by all Egyptians and is not biased to any part or political orientation, especially in relation to any electoral process or referendum in order to enable Egyptians abroad to cast their votes and participate in the political process in the country.”