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  • Friday ,30 May 2014

Egypt: Polls suggest ex-military chief el-Sisi wins presidency in a landslide


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Friday ,30 May 2014

Egypt: Polls suggest ex-military chief el-Sisi wins presidency in a landslide

Former Egyptian military chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is poised to win the country's presidential election in a landslide -- though the fairness of the vote has been questioned.

Exit polls suggest el-Sisi won 95.3% of the vote, while opponent Hamdeen Sabahy garnered only 4.7%, according to data from the Egyptian Center for Public Opinion Research and the Egyptian TV channel MBC Masr.
The final results will be announced by Monday, Egypt's state-run Ahram Online news agency reported.
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The country struggled to get voters to the polls this week. Officials added a third day of voting Wednesday in an attempt to boost turnout.
By the end of the election, 25 million voters had cast ballots, Ahram Online said.
The election was called amid a turbulent political year in Egypt. Former President Mohamed Morsy was removed from power in July in a popular military coup. El-Sisi, who was army chief at the time, stepped down from his military post this year to run for president.
Fairness questioned
Human Rights Watch said Egypt's 10-month-long crackdown on the opposition impeded the fairness of the presidential elections.
"The mass arrests of thousands of political dissidents, whether Islamist or secular, has all but shut down the political arena and stripped these elections of real meaning," the group's Middle East director, Sarah Leah Whitson, said in a statement Wednesday.
Vote extension criticized
Both candidates had criticized the extra day of voting Wednesday and had filed complaints.
"Extending the voting period for no real plausible reason will open the door to possible vote violations and rigging," said Hussein Abdel Ghany, a top adviser to Sabahy.
Question of legitimacy
Politicians, officials and the media have emphasized the importance of a high turnout for el-Sisi's future legitimacy.
Analysts have said he would want to beat the turnout rate of the 2012 presidential elections, which was 46% in the first round and increased to 51.8% (25.5 million).
El-Sisi's real battle, it appeared, was for a high turnout -- not against Sabahy.