Sisi sweeps Egypt’s  Prez polls, military’s grip strengthened

Cairo : Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the ex-army chief who toppled Egypt’s first freely elected Islamist President, on Thursday won a landslide victory bagging over 96 per cent votes in the presidential polls that strengthened the military’s grip on power in the deeply polarised nation.

 Sisi, 59, won at least 23.9 million votes with an overwhelming number of Egyptians choosing the retired Field Marshal over his only electoral rival Hamdeen Sabbahi, who won less than four per cent, according to provisional results.

Voter turnout in the polls was low at 47 per cent despite the government extending the polling for a third day. The turnout was lower than the election that brought Mohammed Morsi to power in 2012.

A surprise in the 2014 presidential race was the number of invalidated votes – exceeding 1 million. Although the results are announced by the judges supervising polling centres across the country, they are still considered unofficial as they must be verified and then announced by the Presidential Elections Commission (PEC).

Judge Tarek Shebl, a member of the PEC’s general secretariat, told Al-Ahram’s Arabic news website that the official results will be announced either on Sunday or Monday. As the results began to come in, Egyptians took to the streets and stayed until the early hours of this morning to celebrate, waving Sisi’s campaign posters and bringing traffic to a standstill.

A spokesman for Sisi’s campaign thanked the “Egyptian people for putting their trust in Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi”. The polling was held on Monday and Tuesday but apparently due to a low voter turnout the PEC added a third day of voting yesterday. The presidential election was the second since the January 25, 2011, revolution that led to the ouster of autocrat Hosni Mubarak. This was the first foreign-monitored election in Egypt’s history.

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