Egypt’s former army chief Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi won 96.9 percent of the votes in the recent presidential election, the Presidential Election Commission said on Tuesday, almost a year after he overthrew former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi.
Turnout in last week’s election was 47.45 percent of Egypt’s 54 million voters, the commission said – less than the 40 million votes, or 80 percent of the electorate, that Sisi had called for.
Sisi’s rival Hamdeen Sabahi won just three percent of the vote, excluding spoiled ballots.
Following the announcement of the election results, Sisi delivered a televised statement thanking the Egyptian people, judges, the media for their roles during the electoral process.
He also thanked Sabahi, his sole rival, for taking part in the election.
Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz was the first international leader to congratulate Sisi on his election victory.
King Abdullah hailed Sisi’win as a “historic day” for Egypt, calling for donors a donors conference to help Egypt through its economic troubles.
The king said Sisi’s sweeping win also represents “a new stage for Egypt,” in a telegram published by SPA state news agency.
“To the brothers and friends of Egypt… I invite all to a donors conference… to help it overcome its economic crisis,” he said.
Sisi’s victory had been certain, with many lauding the retired field marshal as a hero for ending Morsi’s divisive rule in July.
Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, crushed by a massive crackdown following his overthrow and detention, had boycotted the vote.
Some journalists and government employees erupted in applause and began dancing as the final results were announced at a press conference Tuesday.
Sisi now faces a wide array of challenges in a country where street demonstrations have helped to topple two leaders in three years.
But his supporters seemed content to celebrate the moment, gathering by the thousands in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the symbolic heart of the uprising that ousted autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
“We are celebrating the hope of restoring stability and security,” said Naela Mahmoud, a school principal, according to AFP.
But her daughter, Hala Abu Fadl, 29, recalled the past violence in the iconic square, once synonymous with rebellion against Mubarak and the army, which took over between his overthrow and Morsi’s election in June 2012.
“Celebrating here is difficult,” she said, pointing to a mural depicting a slain protester, at the entrance of a street where activists clashed with police and soldiers in 2011.
“I voted for Sisi for stability, but I fear a crackdown on freedoms,” she said.
Sisi, appointed by Morsi as defense minister before he overthrew him, has suggested he would not tolerate protests as he moved to restore the battered economy.
More than three years after Mubarak’s overthrow, the economy has tanked with unrest driving away much needed tourist revenues and foreign investment.
Following Morsi’s overthrow, the interim government unleashed an extensive crackdown that killed at least 1,400 people, mostly Islamists, in street clashes.
Militant attacks have killed almost 500 policemen and soldiers, mostly in the restive Sinai Peninsula bordering Israel and the Gaza Strip.
Source: Al Arabiya News & AFP