Sissi Wins Egypt Election with 97 Percent of Valid Votes

FILE - In this Aug. 26, 2015 file photo, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, center, reviews honor guards, as he takes part in a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of Unknown Soldier outside of Kremlin wall in Moscow, Russia. Seeking to improve the country's image, authorities in Egypt are pulling …
AP/Ivan Sekretarev/Pool

(AFP) — Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi has been re-elected for a second term with 97.08 percent of valid votes cast in an election last week, the election authority said Monday.

The head of the authority Lasheen Ibrahim said at a press conference that turnout was 41.05% of the almost 60 million registered voters.

He said 92.73% of the votes were valid from the roughly 24 million cast, while almost two million ballots were spoiled.

“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.

Sissi’s sole challenger was the little-known Moussa Mostafa Moussa, himself a supporter of the president, who registered immediately before the close date for applications, saving the election from being a one-horse race. He won 2.92% of the valid votes, Ibrahim said.

Moussa conceded his loss on Wednesday night, telling a television station he had hoped for 10% of the vote.

“But I know the immense popularity of President Sissi,” he said.

Other, more heavyweight would-be challengers were all sidelined, detained or pulled out.

Sissi, who as army chief ousted Egypt’s first freely elected president — Islamist Mohamed Morsi — after mass street protests in 2013, won his first term in 2014 with 96.9% of the vote.

Opposition groups had called for a boycott of the vote, held between March 26 and 28, which they labeled a facade.

There were no presidential debates and Sissi himself did not appear at any official campaign events, although he spoke at a number of ceremonies.

In an interview days ahead of the vote, Sissi said he had wished there were more candidates, denying any role in sidelining them.

Sissi, who as army chief ousted Egypt’s first freely elected president — Islamist Mohamed Morsi — after mass street protests in 2013, won his first term in 2014 with 96.9% of the vote.

Morsi’s removal had ushered in a deadly crackdown that killed and jailed hundreds of Islamists.

The initial crackdown on Morsi’s supporters expanded to include liberal and leftist secular activists.

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