— Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Mursi leads the race for Egypt’s presidency among overseas voters, initial figures showed Monday.
Egyptians abroad went to the polls ahead of their compatriots at home who are set to vote Wednesday and Thursday, and embassies and consulates have begun releasing initial results. A tally announced by Egyptian missions in 33 countries put Mursi far ahead, with 106,252 votes, followed by moderate Islamist Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh, with 77,499.
Nasserist candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi came third with 44,727 votes, while former foreign minister Amr Moussa was in fourth place, followed by Ahmed Shafiq, the last premier to serve under ousted president Hosni Mubarak.
But the numbers were dominated by the votes cast in Saudi Arabia — Egypt’s largest expat community — where Mursi secured a massive 49 percent of the vote, according to Egyptian diplomats.
His 68,443 votes put him well ahead of his nearest rival, Abul Fotouh, who took 36,480 votes - 26.1 percent.
Sabbahi, who has campaigned on a platform supporting the left-leaning policies of president Gamal Abdul Nasser who ruled in the 1950s and 1960s, came in third, with 15,292 votes, just under 11 percent of the ballots cast.
In Kuwait, voters also favored Mursi, with 17,149 casting their ballots in favor of the Brotherhood’s candidate. Abul Fotouh came in second, with 14,109 votes, well ahead of third-placed Sabbahi with 9,031.
Although the results announced overseas are unofficial, they have been closely watched in Egypt, where opinion polling has been seen as inaccurate.
In Europe, expat voting produced varying results, with Sabbahi winning in France with 736 ballots, followed closely by former premier Shafiq with 706 votes.
In Britain, Abdul Fotouh was the clear winner, taking 1,300 votes, ahead of Sabbahi with 962. In Greece, Moussa was in the lead, with 362 votes, followed by Shafiq and Sabbahi.
A ban on campaigning entered into force Monday with two days to go for Egypt’s first election since a popular uprising ousted Hosni Mubarak. According to the electoral rules, candidates may no longer appear on television, give media interviews or conduct any public activity that may influence those voting in the May 23-24 election.