Carrying an astounding 92 percent of votes cast, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi easily won reelection to a second term last week.
On his way to the lopsided win, Sisi dismissed sole rival, El-Ghad Party candidate Moussa Mostafa Moussa, who scarcely earned 2.92 percent of the vote. In sum, the sitting president took 21.8 million votes compared with Moussa’s 656,534.
Four years ago, Sisi earned a nearly-identical percent of ballots to win his first term.
An election in which Mr. Sisi claimed he had wanted more opposing candidates, the vote took place amid charges of election rigging or voters induced to the polls by threats, intimidation or cash payments.
Most opponents of the ex-military officer withdrew from the election in January, including Hisham Genena, an anti-corruption public advocate who was assaulted earlier this year.
Another withdrawn candidate, Mohamed Anwar Sadat, said in statement there were “obvious problems related to participation and the reluctance of young people (to vote)”.
According to the head of Egypt’s election authority, Lasheen Ibrahim, 41 percent of Egypt’s 60 million eligible voters turned out to polls. The National Election Authority declared slightly over 1.8 million votes void due to ballots cast in favor of banned candidates.
A former military intelligence official and minister of defense, Mr. Sisi came to power in the Arab world’s most-populous nation in 2013 after toppling the government of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi.
Following Sisi’s landslide return to office, President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin offered congratulatory phone calls, along with the heads of state in Sudan, Bahrain, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. According to the White House, “the two leaders affirmed the strategic partnership between the United States and Egypt.”
U.K. Foreign Minister Boris Johnson also acknowledged Sisi’s reelection, tweeting “Egypt has an opportunity over next 4 years to build a prosperous & democratic society, building on rights set out in 2014 constitution”.
Mr. Sisi now faces an increasingly restless population wracked with high unemployment, rising consumer prices and a country deep in debt.
[Al Jazeera] [France 24] [eNews Channel Africa] [Reuters] [Ahram Online]