Wed, Apr 04, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Egypt’s al-Sisi sweeps 97% of vote

PARTNERS:US President Donald Trump called to congratulate the Egyptian president on his victory, but made no mention of concerns over vote fairness


Supporters of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi celebrate at Tahrir Square after the presidential election results were announced in Cairo on Monday.

Photo: EPA

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi swept to a second term with 97 percent of valid votes, official results showed on Monday, dominating an election last week that saw him face no serious rivals.

Lasheen Ibrahim, head of the election authority, told a news conference that turnout was 41.05 percent of the almost 60 million registered voters, down from the 2014 vote that saw al-Sisi claim the presidency.

Ibrahim said 92.73 percent of the votes were valid from about 24 million cast, while almost 2 million ballots were spoiled.

Al-Sisi’s sole rival and an erstwhile supporter, Moussa Mostafa Moussa, won 2.92 percent of the valid votes, Ibrahim said.

Moussa entered the election at the very last moment after first leading a re-election campaign for al-Sisi, saving the vote from having just one candidate.

The president’s serious contenders either withdrew, were sidelined or were detained.

In a brief victory speech broadcast on Monday evening on state television, al-Sisi sent “greetings, appreciation, and respect” to Egyptians.

He promised “to continue my oath to be loyal in my work, not sparing any effort in order to advance our nation.”

He also conveyed his “thanks and appreciation to Moussa Mostafa Moussa, who led an honest and civilized competition.”

As for Moussa, he said at a press conference that “the most important thing is that Egypt has won.”

Hundreds of supporters took to the streets in Cairo and other cities, waving the Egyptian flag and singing patriotic songs to celebrate al-Sisi winning another four years in power.

US President Donald Trump “congratulated” al-Sisi on his victory in a telephone call, the White House said in a statement that did not mention any worries over the fairness of the vote.

“The two leaders affirmed the strategic partnership between the United States and Egypt, and noted that they look forward to advancing this partnership and addressing common challenges,” it said.

Earlier, US Department of State spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the US “will continue to work to advance our shared objectives” with Egypt, despite its concerns over political freedom.

However, Nauert added: “We have noted reports of constraints on freedoms of expression and association in the run-up to the elections.”

Four Egyptian rights groups, including the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies and the Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, denounced the electoral process in a statement late on Monday.

The election commission “lost its political legitimacy by watching the electoral process as it transformed into a debacle beleaguered by the worst political and security thuggery ever witnessed in an Egyptian election since 1952,” they said.

Al-Sisi, who as army chief ousted Egypt’s first freely elected president Mohamed Morsi after mass street protests in 2013, won his first term in 2014 with 96.9 percent of valid votes.

That year’s turnout of 47 percent was sharply higher than this year’s 41 percent, despite official appeals for voters to fulfil their patriotic duty.

Ibrahim was effusive about the vote regardless of the perceived lack of competition and the low attendance.

“These are momentous moments for this nation ... which will be written in letters of light, under the title: battle for the love of Egypt,” Ibrahim said as he announced the results.

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