Sat, Sep 10, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Mubarak victorious in multi-candidate presidential election


Incumbent President Hosni Mubarak swept more than 80 percent of the vote in Egypt's unprecedented pluralist presidential election hailed as an historic step but marred by violations, according to an early count published yesterday.

The incumbent's landslide victory left his nine rivals fighting over crumbs, with most estimates giving Ghad party leader Ayman Nur a lead over Wafd chairman Numan Gumaa.

"According to unofficial estimates, the National Democratic Party obtained between 82 and 84 percent of the vote," the state-owned Al-Gomhurriya newspaper said.

The estimates were based on unofficial results from most of Egypt's 26 governorates. Official results were expected to be released either late yesterday or today.

The electoral commission secretary-general, Osama Attawiya, said that he could not confirm these estimates, which he said were based on "figures compiled by party delegates."

Mubarak was last re-elected in 1999 with 93 percent of the vote, but that was under a referendum system where Egyptians could only say yes or no to a single parliament-nominated candidate.

In other provinces, Mubarak swept nearly all the vote, with 98 percent in Aswan, 92 percent in Fayyum and 93 percent in his native Menufiya governorate, Al-Ahram said.

A victory for the 77-year-old leader -- who has been dubbed the "last Pharaoh" and has ruled over Egypt for 24 years -- was a foregone conclusion and the most significant result could be the turnout.

The independent Al-Masri Al-Yom daily said turnout could reach 35 percent, but there were no estimates in state-owned newspapers.

Nur filed a complaint on Thursday demanding a new election based on irregularities observed by party delegates across the country, but the electoral commission rejected the request.

Other parties have also alleged widespread abuses by members of Mubarak's ruling National Democratic Party.

Boutros Boutros-Ghali, a former foreign minister and UN secretary-general, insisted the climate of the election had been generally positive.

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