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Egypt

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi re-elected with 97 per cent of valid votes

All other serious contenders in the presidential race had withdrawn or been sidelined or detained.

PUBLISHED : Monday, 02 April, 2018, 10:17pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 April, 2018, 12:56am

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has secured a second term with 97 per cent of valid votes, according to official results announced Monday. The election last week saw him face no serious rivals.  

Turnout was 41.05 per cent of the almost 60 million registered voters, the head of the election authority, Lasheen Ibrahim, said at a press conference.

He said 92.73 per cent of the votes were valid from the roughly 24 million cast, while almost two million ballots were spoiled.  

Sisi’s sole rival and an erstwhile ardent supporter, Moussa Mostafa Moussa, won 2.92 per cent of the valid votes, Ibrahim said. 

Moussa entered the election at the very last moment after first leading a re-election campaign for Sisi, saving the vote from having just one candidate.  

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Sisi’s serious contenders had withdrawn or been sidelined or detained.  

“These are momentous moments for this nation … which will be written in letters of light, under the title: battle for the love of Egypt”, Ibrahim said. 

“The entire world heard your chants for the love of Egypt”, he said.  

Sisi – who as army chief ousted Egypt’s first freely elected president, Islamist Mohamed Morsi after mass street protests in 2013 – won his first term in 2014 with 96.9 per cent of the vote. 

Turnout of 47 per cent in that year’s election was sharply higher than this year’s 41 per cent despite appeals from Prime Minister Sherif Ismail for voters to fulfil their patriotic duty.  

Nonetheless Sisi has already praised this year’s turnout. 

“The vote by masses of Egypt will remain a testament, no doubt, that our nation’s will imposes itself with strength and knows no weakness”, Sisi said on his Twitter account late Wednesday. 

Opposition boycott

People who boycotted the election and cannot show a good reason for missing the vote could face a fine of up to 500 Egyptian pounds (€22), the electoral commission has warned. 

Opposition groups had called for a boycott of last week’s vote, which they labelled a facade.  

There were no presidential debates and Sisi himself did not appear at any official campaign events, although he spoke at a number of ceremonies.  

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In an interview days ahead of the vote, Sisi said he wished there were more candidates, denying any role in sidelining his rivals. 

He also sought to drive up voter turnout in a speech in the run-up to the election as he urged Egyptians to back his bid for another four years in office.  

“I need you because the journey is not over”, Sisi told a mostly female audience. “I need every lady and mother and sister, please, I need the entire world to see us” voting. 

Morsi’s removal in 2013 ushered in a deadly crackdown that killed and jailed hundreds of Islamists. 

The initial crackdown on the ousted leader’s supporters expanded to include liberal and leftist secular activists. 

A jihadist insurgency since has killed hundreds of police officers and civilians.  

Sisi gave the armed forces and police a three-month deadline in November to wipe out Islamic State in its Sinai Peninsula stronghold.  

The deadline has since been extended, and on February 9 the armed forces began their most comprehensive campaign yet to end the five-year-old jihadist insurgency.  

But attacks by the militants have continued.  

Sisi has embarked on tough economic changes that have been welcomed by foreign investors but dented his standing at home, even though his popularity remains high.