Former army chief Abdel Fattah Al Sisi’s sole rival in the presidential election raised questions over the vote’s legitimacy and said he was withdrawing his monitors from polling places after they were arrested and abused. Hamdeen Sabahi, a left-leaning candidate, also criticized the military-backed government’s extraordinary decision to extend the vote a third day into Wednesday after turnout was low. The move, which it said was a response to large segments of the public calling for more time after a heat wave depressed participation, didn’t appear to have the desired effect, as polls remained quiet on Wednesday. Mr. Sabahi, however, vowed to stay in the race despite calls from his supporters to pull out after they said the government took measures to boost the turnout to enhance Mr. Sisi’s mandate.
“My national responsibility holds me accountable to finish what we started,” said Mr. Sabahi, who wasn’t expected to be competitive in the election. “Our stand originates from a belief in paving the way for democracy against the will of the tyrants, and to demonstrate our ability to fight back those who want to restore the old regime’s policies.”
Few people have any doubt the popular Mr. Sisi will win the election, whose preliminary results could be released on Wednesday. But a high turnout is important for Mr. Sisi to show he has broad support of his policies as interim ruler since July when he ousted his predecessor, Mohammed Morsi and cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhood movement that supports him.
Mr. Morsi, the nation’s first freely elected president, garnered 13.2 million votes–with about half of the nation’s 54 million eligible voters participating–when he was elected in 2012. Pro-Sisi media is reporting current participation as lower than that, 38% to 40%.
Full Article: Egypt Candidate Condemns Presidential Vote – WSJ.com.