World Bulletin / News Desk
Expatriate Egyptians continued on Friday to cast their ballot in the country's presidential election, in which former army chief Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi faces off against leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi.
On Thursday, around 55,000 Egyptians cast ballots in the first day of voting in the poll, the second since the 2011 uprising that ended the autocracy of ex-president Hosni Mubarak.
The largest expatriate voter turnout was reported in the Gulf countries, whereas Milan, Italy's second most populous city, saw the highest voter turnout outside the Gulf, the Egyptian Interior Ministry said in a statement.
Observers expect a high turnout among Egyptians living in the Gulf region on Friday, an official day-off in the Arab countries.
There are no exact figures regarding the number of eligible Egyptian voters living overseas.
Egyptians will elect a new president on May 26-27 in the second phase of a transitional roadmap imposed by the army following last July's ouster of Mohamed Morsi – Egypt's first freely elected president – by the military.
Al-Sisi, who is widely seen as the architect of Morsi's ouster last summer, is expected to win the election by a wide margin.
Foreign Ministry refutes vote-rigging claims
Egypt's Foreign Ministry on Thursday refuted claims that "systematic" irregularities" had marred expatriate voting in Egypt's presidential elections.
"We move quickly to address mistakes that happen inside embassies and consulates," Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdel-Ati said.
"There's no credence to reports about voting irregularities or systematic violations," he told Anadolu Agency.
Campaigners for candidate Hamdeen Sabahi said earlier that they had spotted "several violations" during the expatriate vote.
Sabahi campaign official Mona Amer said the violations included the distribution of propaganda for Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi – Sabahi's rival and presidential frontrunner – inside polling stations, along with ballot boxes composed of cardboard instead of transparent plastic or glass.
Amer called on Egypt's electoral commission to intervene to stop the alleged violations.
Egyptian embassies and consulates abroad, however, said they were abiding by the rules laid down by the electoral commission and that they took a neutral stance regarding the two candidates.
According to Abdel-Ati, some voters wearing t-shirts bearing the image of one of the two candidates had been asked to leave a polling station in Kuwait.Güncelleme Tarihi: 16 Mayıs 2014, 11:05