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Landslide Victory for El Sisi in Egypt
May 30, 2014

Abdel Fattah El Sisi won a landslide victory in Egypt’s presidential race and now faces the task of defeating an Islamist insurgency and ending three years of economic stagnation. El Sisi won 93 per cent of the votes, compared with 2.9 per cent cast for the leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi. Turnout in the vote, which was shunned by former president Mohammed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood backers, was about 46 per cent.

El Sisi’s victory was never in doubt, but the career infantry officer and former military chief had pushed for an overwhelming turnout to bestow legitimacy on his removal July of Mohammad Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected president.  Turnout was more than 46 per cent after officials extended voting to a third day. That figure was lower than the 52 per cent turnout in the 2012 presidential election that vaulted Mohammad Morsi to power.

El Sisi faces the task of reviving an economy growing at its slowest rate in two decades and a nation quick to hit the streets to press for change. The Muslim Brotherhood, which fielded Mohammad Morsi for office and was branded a terrorist group after his removal, called for a boycott of the vote. It has described the turnout level as a punishment for Mohammad Morsi’s removal.

The European Union, which sent observers, said only minor problems were observed in the vote. The decision to extend balloting for another day, while not against the law, caused unnecessary uncertainty. In a nation where protests can be triggered by the mere talk of cutting food and fuel subsidies, the stakes are high. Adding to the challenges is rising violence by militants and the street crime that mushroomed following Hosni Mubarak’s overthrow.

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