Egypt’s former military chief Abdul Fattah al-Sisi was officially declared the next president Tuesday, winning elections to replace the Islamist leader he removed from the post last year. The Election Commission announced the results of last week’s election, saying al-Sisi won a landslide victory with 96.9 percent of the vote, with turnout of 47.45 percent. Al-Sisi garnered 23.78 million votes, while his sole rival, leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi, got 318,000 — lower than the 1.4 million invalid ballots cast in the polling. After the announcement, several hundred people gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square set off fireworks, cheered and sang pro-military songs.
Egypt’s Presidential Election Commission (PEC) rejected an appeal by the presidential campaign of candidate Hamdeen Sabahi, who suffered a crushing loss in the poll according to preliminary results of the vote, against violations claimed by it during the poll. The PEC said, according to Al-Ahram’s Arabic news website, the complaints submitted on Friday were investigated and no evidence was found to support them. The complaints haven’t influenced the results of the poll, the commission added.
Egypt: International Observers Find Egypt’s Presidential Election Fell Short of Standards | New York Times
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.
Polling stations have finally closed their doors on the last day of Egypt’s 2014 presidential election. The cabinet will hold a meeting on Thursday to discuss the steps to follow the election. Several monitoring bodies will also be announcing their initial findings including the European Union’s commission, which said it will be holding a press conference on Thursday. Despite claims of low turnout, judicial sources told Al-Ahram’s Arabic news website that voter turnout by Wednesday – the third day of voting – had reached around 21 million – or about 40 percent of the country’s 54 million registered voters. The estimate puts the turnout higher than this January’s constitutional referendum, which saw around 20.6 million voters (38.6 percent), Judge Tarek Shebl, a member of the general secretariat of the Presidential Elections Commission (PEC), the judicial body supervising the poll, told Al-Ahram. Shebl believes turnout for the presidential election will surpass 40 percent.
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.
Egyptians living abroad began Thursday to cast their ballots in a presidential poll that is expected to bring former army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to power. Egyptian embassies and consulates across 124 countries are expected to open Thursday for voting over 12 hours, from 9am local time, Egypt’s foreign ministry said. Polling locations in Paris, Austria’s Vienna, Sudan’s Khartoum and New Zealand’s Wellington opened their doors Thursday morning for expatriate Egyptians to vote in the four-day poll that will conclude 18 May, state news agency MENA has said. The presidential vote is scheduled to open at home 26-27 May and is highly tipped to be won by retired army chief and frontrunner chief El-Sisi. Only one other rival running for the country’s top post is leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi, who came third in the 2012 election. The vote is the second milestone in a transitional roadmap set out by interim authorities following Mohamed Morsi’s ouster last July. The first was a January referendum on an amended constitution in which around only 107,000 expatriates cast their ballots out of over 600,000 eligible Egyptian voters in 161 countries.
Egypt: Presidential Election Commission announces presidential candidates, election details | Ahram Online
Hamdeen Sabahi and Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi are Egypt’s final contenders for the 2014 presidential race, the Presidential Election Commission’s (PEC) spokesman Abdel-Aziz Salman said in a press conference on Sunday. PEC – the judicial body supervising the polls – has examined the documents of both contenders and concluded that both candidates meet the eligibility requirements set by the commission, Salman said. Egypt’s elections will be held on 26 and 27 May. Salman also revealed further details of the presidential election process, including the election’s monitoring bodies and the voting process outside of Egypt. The commission has granted approval to six international organisations to monitor the elections and 79 domestic ones who met the requirements. A total of 116 Egyptian organisations applied for monitoring status.
Egypt’s election commission said Sunday only two presidential hopefuls, one of them the powerful former military chief who nine months ago ousted the country’s first democratically elected leader, have submitted their papers to run in next month’s polls. With only two people — former army chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi — vying for the country’s top post, the race is certain to be dramatically different from Egypt’s 2012 presidential vote, when 13 candidates of all political stripes competed in a heated campaign. Mohammed Morsi, an Islamist from the Muslim Brotherhood, won that race, defeating a former general in a runoff to become Egypt’s first democratically elected president. Just over a year later, the military removed Morsi from office following mass protests calling for his ouster.
As speculation about the expected presidential candidacy of popular Egyptian Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi continues to grow, the secretary-general of the Presidential Supreme Electoral Commission, Hamdan Fahmy, said the delays in the election process were due to “technical issues.” Egypt’s long-awaited presidential elections are set to take place later this year, with most analysts expecting the polls to be held in the summer. Egypt’s interim President Adly Mansour announced earlier this month that presidential elections would finish “before July 17.” Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on Thursday, Fahmy said: “Technical issues have caused the delay in the announcement of the timetable for the presidential elections and the opening of the registration of candidates.”
Egypt’s leading opposition group urged its followers Wednesday to vote against an Islamist-inspired draft constitution, ending weeks of indecision over whether antigovernment forces should boycott the referendum, which begins this weekend and pits secularists against the Muslim Brotherhood. The move by the National Salvation Front is a crucial test of its popularity against President Mohamed Morsi and his Islamist supporters. The opposition movement has revived the country’s revolutionary fervor but has been marred by division and poor organization, which are expected to be exploited by the Brotherhood’s vast grass-roots networks.
On what was supposed to be the “Friday of Isolating Ahmed Shafiq,” a call to protest the Egyptian presidential candidate who was Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister, the crowd in Tahrir Square could be counted in the hundreds, a sign that despite a week of effort there was still no agreement on how to stop Shafiq between the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi, the other candidate in next week’s presidential runoff, and the mostly secular revolutionaries whose protests toppled Mubarak 15 months ago. The Muslim Brotherhood did not erect the biggest stage in Tahrir Square, as it has previously during demonstrations that drew tens of thousands, and its top officials did not show up to lead chants. Just a few Brotherhood supporters were present, obvious from the green hats they wore bearing the Brotherhood’s slogan, “Islam is the solution.” The crowd was ironically small for Sheikh Mazhar Shahin’s sermon. Last year, the sheikh often preached to hundreds of thousands in the anti-Mubarak protests. “The enemies of the revolution succeeded in shattering our unity into parties and candidates racing for positions,” Shahin said, his familiar voice echoing through Tahrir Square’s emptiness. “There is no option but uniting once again so that our revolution succeeds.” But it was clear that the compromise that revolutionary candidates had hoped to reach with Morsi so that they could endorse him before voting begins in the runoff next Friday would not be happening.
Egypt: Mubarak verdict adds to tension before Egypt vote amid calls for more mass protests | Al-Arabiya
Egyptian activists called for mass demonstrations on Tuesday to protest against verdicts handed down in the strongman’s murder trial. The pro-democracy April 6 movement, the Coalition of Revolution Youth and the Maspero Youth Union among others called for a mass protest at 1500 GMT on Tuesday. Thousands of protesters gathered in Cairo’s iconic al-Tahrir Square late Sunday to protest the acquittals given to nine defendants in the major trial that sent former president Hosni Mubarak and his interior minister Habib al-Adly to jail for life. Demonstrators demanded the formation of a civilian presidential council including defeated candidates Abdul Moniem Abul Fotouh and Hamdeen Sabbahi united under the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, who is running in the elections run-off, Mohammed Mursi, Egypt’s daily al-Masry al-Youm reported. Protesters also called for the retrial of all defendants in the case and called for the Political Isolation Law to be applied to Ahmed Shafiq, who is competing against Mursi in the election run-off on June 16 and 17.
The secretary general of the Presidential Elections Commission has denied rumors that Ahmed Shafiq garnered the most votes in the first round of the election held last week. “The counting is not yet complete,” Hatem Bagato told the website of the state-run newspaper Al-Ahram on Sunday, saying that the final results would not be announced before considering the five appeals submitted by presidential candidates. On Sunday, the election commission began to review the complaints over the poll, which has left Egyptians with a runoff choice between an Islamist apparatchik, Mohamed Morsy, and throwback candidate from the Hosni Mubarak era, Ahmed Shafiq. Both contenders seek to claim the mantle of the 25 January revolution, and are appealing to the many Egyptians who voted for more centrist figures in the first round.
Three top candidates in Egypt’s presidential race filed appeals to the election commission ahead of the deadline Sunday, alleging violations in the first round vote that they say could change the outcome. The appeals alleging fraud are likely to enflame an already explosive race. Preliminary results from last week’s election placed Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi and Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, as the two candidates entering a June 16-17 runoff. Thirteen candidates were on the ballot. Shafiq, who placed second after Morsi, said votes cast for him in one province were not included in the ballot count. Many voters reject both front-runners as polarizing extremists. Young, liberal secularists who led the popular rebellion that overthrew longtime leader Hosni Mubarak last year failed to place a candidate in the runoff.
The third-place finisher in Egypt’s presidential race called Saturday for a partial vote recount, citing violations, his spokesman said. Early results show that Hamdeen Sabahi came in third by a margin of some 700,000 votes, leaving him out of next month’s run-off between the two leading candidates. Sabahi’s spokesman Hossam Mounis said the campaign has found evidence of many violations during the two days of voting that would affect the final results. He declined to give details about the violations but said appeals would be filed Sunday.
The candidate who is said to have come third – missing out on a run-off – in Egypt’s historic election has demanded a recount, citing many “violations”. Hamdin Sabbahi, from the leftist al-Karamah party, said conscripts had voted illegally. Mr Sabbahi missed out on the second round by 700,000 votes, according to unofficial results from state media. Next month’s run-off will be between candidates from the Muslim Brotherhood and the Mubarak-era regime. The Brotherhood candidate, Mohammed Mursi, has a slight lead on former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, with a reported 25.3% of votes against 24.9%.