Sisi landslide in Egypt election fuels fears of power grab

President Trump congratulated Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi on his landslide re-election victory Monday.

It's the same proportion that the former military commander secured four years ago for his first term but with a lower turnout, official results showed on Monday. Other challengers were forced out of the race when they were detained by authorities, or saw their campaigns obstructed.

"The election was an epic of love dedicated to Egypt", said head of the election commission, Lasheen Ibrahim. He won 2.92 percent of the vote.

He thanked people "who crowded the polling stations" and vowed to work to "increase the common ground" between Egyptians, without differentiating between those who voted for him and those who did not.

Sisi won last week's election against a sole rival who himself is a supporter of the president.

The election commission "lost its political legitimacy by watching the electoral process as it transformed into a debacle beleaguered by the worst political and security thuggery ever witnessed in an Egyptian election since 1952", they said. Some voters said they were offered incentives to cast their ballots including money and food, local and global media reported, but did not say who had made the offers.

Critics say this is a sign of public opposition to Sisi's administration.

Sisi, a former army chief, had ousted his Islamist predecessor Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

The NEA also announced that March 30 was the last day to accept appeals from presidential candidates regarding the decisions and results of the general committees in the presidential election 2018, in preparation for the announcement of the final results on Monday.

Trump said in the call that the United States was keen on strengthening strategic relations and continuing to coordinate on key issues, MENA reported.

Mr Sisi's main western and regional allies have been mostly silent over alleged human rights abuses in Egypt.

The US State Department had earlier noted "reports of constraints on freedoms of expression and association in the run-up to the election".

"The United States values its strong partnership with Egypt and will continue to work to advance our shared objectives", spokesperson Heather Nauert said after Sisi won a second term with 97% of the vote.

  • Tracy Klein