Egypt's Sisi cruising to re-election victory, but with lower voter turnout

Turnout low as Egyptians wrap up presidential vote

El-Sisi leads Egypt presidential election

Egypt's incumbent President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi is set to be elected for a second term as he won 92 per cent of the votes in the 2018 presidential election, with 23 million Egyptians voting for him, according to initial results on Thursday.

Sisi was expected to win more than 90 per cent of the vote, while it appeared that more people spoiled their ballots than voted for Sisi's sole challenger Moussa Mostafa Moussa, who has widely been dismissed as a dummy candidate.

Some 60 million people in Egypt were registered to vote on March 26, 27, and 28.

In Alexandria, El-Sisi received around 88 per cent of the vote, with a turnout of about 38 per cent. Turnout in Egyptian elections has never exceeded 47 per cent. The political rivals of weight who tried to challenge Al Sisi in last elections withdrew or were removed from electoral race.

The Egyptian leadership seeks a high voter turnout as a sign of popular support for President Sisi's reelection and the people's confidence in his leadership for a better future.

Terror activities in Egypt have killed hundreds of security men and civilians since the military toppled Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in July 2013 in response to mass protests against his one-year rule and his now outlawed Brotherhood group.

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As ballots are tallied for official results due on April 2, the focus will be on final turnout since Sisi faced no credible opposition.

Some voters said they had received payments and other inducements to cast their ballots.

"The voice of the masses of Egyptians will remain a witness - no doubt - that the will of our nation is prevailing with a force that does not know weakness", Sisi was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

Voters trickled into polling stations, even as authorities encouraged them to show up in high numbers. A Western diplomat said that late on Tuesday, turnout was between 15 and 20 per cent, with around 30 per cent in some centres on Wednesday.

El-Sissi's backers say he has re-established security in Egypt after years of unrest, while his critics accuse his government of muzzling dissent, arresting and torturing opponents and curbing press freedom, charges the authorities deny.

"I have only one wish and if it's accomplished, I will be very happy", said Ashraf Ahmed, a 50-year-old ceramic sculptor smoking a shisha in a cafe.

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