Egyptian Citizens Spoil Ballots To Vote For Mohamed Salah In Presidential Election

Abdel-Fattah Al-Sis

The election commission said the vote was held according to the "highest worldwide standards of integrity and transparency" as it read out the results in a televised announcement.

Mousa had previously endorsed Sisi for a second-term and his official Ghad Party had backed Sisi's presidential bid just 10 days before he announced his candidacy.

Authorities went to great lengths to boost turnout, using the state's vast resources to get voters out and threatening to fine anyone boycotting the election, whose result was a foregone conclusion.

State media had portrayed failure to vote as a betrayal of Egypt. The flagship state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram also raised its estimate of turnout in the March 26-28 election to 42.08 percent, saying 25 million of Egypt's 60 million registered voters had cast ballots.

"It is not my fault", Sisi said in a recent TV interview. Other media outlets released similar figures.

The NEA said the number of invalid ballots was 1,762,231 votes, amounting to 7.27 percent of the total votes.

The 63-year-old Sisi came to power in 2014, a year after he led the military to oust Egypt's first democratically-elected president, Mohamed Morsi, in a coup.

The National Election Authority Chairman Counselor, Lashin Ibrahim, said during the conference that President Sisi garnered 97.08 percent of valid votes in the presidential election last week, where more than 21.8 million people voted for him. Moussa joined at the last minute - sparing the government the embarrassment of a one-candidate race - and made no effort to challenge el-Sissi. Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood group, which won a string of elections after the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak, has been outlawed as a terrorist group and driven underground. Since then, authorities have waged a sweeping crackdown on dissent, jailing thousands of Islamists and several prominent secular activists. Unauthorized protests are banned, and hundreds of websites, including those of independent media and rights groups, have been blocked.

Last month, the two leaders discussed the crisis in Syria, as well as what the White House called "Russia and Iran's irresponsible support of the Assad regime's brutal attacks against innocent civilians".

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