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Al-Sisi Emerges Winner of Egyptian Presidential Election

Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the former Egyptian Army Chief leads in presidential election

Former Egyptian Army Chief, Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi has won the just concluded North African country Presidential election with over 90 per cent of the total valid votes cast. His only opponent, the labour activist, Hamdeen Sabahi, polled about four per cent of the votes.

According to The Guardians initial numbers suggested that more than 46 per cent of Egypt’s 53 million eligible voters participated – a respectable turnout comparable with previous post-2011 polls, but which could only be achieved after officials announced a last-minute holiday, extended voting to a third day, and threatened non-voters with a large fine. It was also substantially lower than the 80 per cent turnout Sisi had called for on the days ahead of election.

Yet, his victory was a crushing one – comparing the 13 million who voted in 2012 for former President Mohamed Morsi, who was ousted from office last year June.

The high scale of Sisi’s victory came did not come as a surprise having enjoyed the support of the Egypt’s top generals, media personalities and business moguls who united and jointly presented him as the best candiadate.But the reported 46 turn out turnout has raised eyebrows as some pundits viewed it was high.

But the head of one of Egypt’s only homegrown pollsters, Baseera, said the figures seemed plausible in the context of his company’s exit polls, said: “I think it makes sense based on our numbers”.

Meanwhile, opposition activists said the election was meaningless amid a months-long crackdown on dissent, in particular members of the defunct Muslim Brotherhood.

The Sabahi campaign said that dozens of its activists were arrested after challenging alleged violations at polling stations across the country. A spokesperson said one campaigner, Ahmed Hanafy, was arrested after an argument with an army officer and was now subject to a military trial. Another Sabahi activist, Ayman Zakaria, circulated an image of his beaten torso – said to be the result of a police assault.

Mona Selim, a senior organiser at the Sabahi campaign, said: “Police have arrested many members of our campaign. When we said there’s something wrong with the election process, instead of writing a record of this problem, they arrest them.”

The validity of the election was also strongly questioned by one of the poll’s main international observers. The body, Democracy International (DI) said the decision to extend the election into a third day – in what Sisi’s opponents saw as an attempt to raise the turnout to give his victory more credibility – was “just the latest in a series of unusual steps that have seriously harmed the credibility of the process”.

It also “raises more questions about the independence of the election commission, the impartiality of the government, and the integrity of Egypt’s electoral process,” DI added in a statement.

The efforts the state took to hoodwink people to vote suggested that Sisi’s popularity was not as universal as his supporters claimed. A small boycott by Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood and secular activists may have dented turnout – as widespread apathy from voters bored by Egypt’s seventh election since the 2011 uprising that ended Mubarak’s 30 years in power.

“People don’t feel any elections have made any difference,” said Ahmed Hassan, 27, a dentist who declared he had not bothered to vote. “I’m not boycotting – I just don’t care. There’s no point. They’ve proved that our involvement is not important.”


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