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Al Sissi 'sweeps' Egypt presidential election
May 29, 2014, 8:47 am
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Egyptian people celebrate at Tahrir square in Cairo, Egypt, late on 28 May 2014.

Former general gains more than 96 per cent votes, unofficial results show

Egypt's former defence minister Abdul Fattah Al Sissi has made a clean sweep of the country's presidential election  with a total of 96.03 of the valid votes, according to unofficial results carried by semi-official newspaper Al Ahram.

His sole challenger , leftist opposition leader Hamdeen Sabahi, garnered 3.96 per cent in the three-day balloting that ended on Wednesday evening, the paper said in its early Thursday edition.

Al Sissi took a clear lead in all Egyptian provinces, securing 97.51 per cent in Cairo; 96.73 per cent in Alexandria that is Egypt's second biggest city; 97.8 per cent and 97. 16 per cent in the southern cities of Qena and Aswan respectively; 97.41 per cent in the coastal ciy of Damietta and 98.41 per cent in the northern city of Dakahalia.

Al Sissi, meanwhile, far surpassed Sabahi in the latter's hometown Kafr Al Shaikh, gaining 97.89 per cent of the valid votes, the report said.

According to preliminary returns, Al Sissi won 98.46 per cent of the valid votes cast in the Delta city of Menufia, 98.15 per cent and 95.63 per cent in the coastal cities of Port Saeed and Suez respectively; 97.57 per cent in Qaliubia north of Cairo; and 99.17 per cent in the southern city of Suhag.

Al Sissi, 59, has gained a cult-like status in Egypt since July last year when he led the army's overthrow of Islamist president Mohammad Mursi. The ex-general won 97.89 per cent in Sharqia, Mursi's hometown, Al Ahram reported.

Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood boycotted the polls, dismissing them as a "bloody farce".

The unofficial results were released three hours after the polls closed.  Official results are due to be announced by June 5.

Around 24.79 million or 46 per cent of Egypt's eligible voters cast their ballots in the presidential election, the country's first since Mursi's toppling, private TV station CBC reported, citing judicial sources.
Nearly 52 per cent of the voters showed up in the 2012 elections, which Mursi won.

As local TV stations started showing vote counting live from inside polling stations, Al Sissi's backers gathered in their hundreds in front of the presidential palace in the eastern Cairo quarter of Heliopolis celebrating  the early victory.  They chanted "Al Sissi is my president," as they set off fireworks in jubilation and held the national flag and his photos.

Al Sissi's supporters see him as able to end more than three years of security breakdown that has taken a disastrous toll on the economy in Egypt, the Arab world's most populous country of 85 million people. He has pledged to re-establish stability and revitalize the economy. His detractors say his election will mark a return to the despotism of long-time president Hosni Mubarak, who was forced to step down in a 2012 uprising.

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