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Egypt's el-Sissi re-elected with 97 percent of vote

April 2, 2018

Without any real challenge, President el-Sissi has won by an overwhelming margin. His main challengers were either jailed, or complained that they had been either sabotaged or intimidated into not running.

President el-Sissi votes
Image: Reuters/The Egyptian Presidency

Egypt's election authority confirmed on Monday that President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi had be re-elected for another four-year term in office. El-Sissi garnered 97 percent of the vote, having faced no real challengers in the voting booth.

According to election commission chief Lasheem Ibrahim, turnout was low, with only 41 percent of Egypt's 59 million registered voters showing up at the March 26-28 ballot.

"The election was an epic of love dedicated to Egypt," said head of the election commission, Lasheen Ibrahim. "It was an epic that embodied the struggle of the people for justice, dignity and democracy."

Read more: El-Sissi: the new Egyptian strongman

Candidates complain of intimidation

But the vote was marred by a number of alarming irregularities. In January, el-Sissi's strongest challenger, General Sami Anan, was arrested over charges of running for office without permission. One day later, another serious contender, rights lawyer Khaled Ali withdrew, saying he and his supporters were being intimidated.

Several other would-be candidates complained that massive efforts to kill their campaigns before they could even begin.

"I wish there had been more candidates for people to choose who they want. But they were not ready yet," el-Sissi said in a televised address ahead of the election

Egypt in the age of el-Sissi

The nearly three percent of the vote not won by the incumbent president went to the unknown politician Moussa Mustafa Moussa, an ardent supporter of el-Sissi's who entered the race at the last minute and did not campaign.

According to Egyptian state media, US President Donald Trump called el-Sissi to congratulate him on his victory. The State Department said that the US "values its strong partnership with Egypt," but that the White House "noted reports of constraints on freedom of expression and association in the run-up to the elections."

The turnout figure of 41 percent was down from 2014, the first election el-Sissi won outright, a year after Islamist president Mohamed Morsi was ousted in an uprising. Then, turnout was about 47 percent – but only after election officials agreed to extend the vote into a third day.

es/rc (AFP, Reuters)

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