Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, Egypt's former army chief, has secured a whopping 96.9 percent of the vote in the country's presidential election, but fewer than half of those allowed to cast ballots did so, according to the election officials.
Sisi's leftist opponent, Hamdeen Sabahi, secured just 3 percent of the ballots. The results, certified by the election commission, bolster preliminary results announced last week. Of those eligible to vote, only 47.45 percent turned out.
The results of the election have never been in doubt, and as we reported when the preliminary results were read, "Sisi was boosted by both state media and private media. He announced his candidacy on state television. His banners and pictures papered the streets, put up by wealthy businessmen and citizens. People danced outside polling stations for him. When turnout seemed like it might be low, the Presidential Election Commission extended the voting by a day while well-known television hosts harangued Egyptians to go to the polls."
As Reuters notes:
"Sisi gained wide support from Egyptians after toppling President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood last year, prompted by mass protests against his rule.
"The lower-than-expected turnout raises questions about Sisi's ability to maintain his popularity while attempting to fix a battered economy, ease poverty and prevent further political crises from paralysing Egypt.
"For now, Sisi's 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."