Thursday May 29 2014

Egypt election: Sisi secures crushing win

By Agencies

Former military chief Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has won an overwhelming victory in Egypt's presidential election, according to provisional results.
He gained over 96% of the vote with ballots from most polling stations counted, state media say.

Turnout is expected to be around 45% despite a massive push to get more people to polling stations. Many groups boycotted the vote.

Mr Sisi deposed President Mohammed Morsi last July after mass protests.
He has overseen a bloody crackdown on Mr Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood movement in which more than 1,400 people have been killed and 16,000 detained.

The Brotherhood said it would boycott the vote, as did many liberal and secular activist groups.

Hamdeen Sabahi, the only other candidate in the election, said earlier his team had recorded "violations" in the voting process.

However, he rejected calls from his supporters to withdraw from the elections, saying it was not in the interest of Egyptians.

Mr Sabahi secured only about 760,000 of the 24.7 million votes counted, and lost out in many regions to a high number of spoiled ballots, the state-run al-Ahram newspaper reports.

Hundreds of Sisi supporters took to the streets of Cairo in the early hours of Thursday as results emerged, waving Egyptian flags, setting off fireworks and honking their car horns.

The military-backed authorities had extended voting to a third day in the hope of boosting turnout.

But reports suggested many polling stations were almost deserted on Wednesday.

Analysts say the low turnout damages Mr Sisi's authority before he takes office.

He had aimed to win 40 million of 54 million registered votes, to show that he had the support of the majority of Egypt. In the event, it appears about 25 million voted.

In comparison, turnout for the previous presidential election between Mohammed Morsi and former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq was around 52%.