Egypt’s presidential election fell short of international standards of democracy, two teams of foreign observers said Thursday, a day after the former military officer who led last summer’s military takeover won a landslide victory with more than 95 percent of the vote. “Egypt’s repressive political environment made a genuinely democratic presidential election impossible,” Eric Bjornlund, president of Democracy International, an election-monitoring organization funded by the United States, said in a statement. In an interview, he called the political context “hugely troubling.” A team of European Union observers said in a statement that, despite guarantees in Egypt’s Constitution, respect for the essential freedoms of association and expression “falls short of these constitutional principles.” Robert Goebbels, a Luxembourg member of the European Parliament, summarized the voting process as “free but not always very fair,” noting the winner’s overwhelming advantage in both financial resources and news media attention.
The winner, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the former army field marshal, was universally perceived as the candidate of the state, the political establishment and the business elite, and his victory had been so widely expected that it was almost a formality.
Election officials said Thursday that Mr. Sisi’s only opponent, Hamdeen Sabahi, had won less than 3 percent of the vote. He finished basically tied with the number of ballots that had been defaced to protest what critics called the undemocratic climate and limited choices.