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The New Arab

Egypt votes on final day of presidential elections with all eyes on turnout

Any rivals to Sisi in the election have been jailed or forced to quit. [Getty]

Date of publication: 28 March, 2018

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The election comes amid the harshest crackdown on dissent in Egypt's modern history, with thousands of Islamists and secular activists in jail.

Egyptians are voting on the final day of presidential elections on Wednesday in a vote which is virtually guaranteed to hand a second four-year term to President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi.

Authorities hope a high turnout will lend legitimacy to the election and have staggered the vote over three days, will polls closing on Wednesday at 7pm GMT.

Official results are expected on 2 April.

Sisi faces only a token opponent - Moussa Mostafa Moussa - who is himself a supporter of the president, with the balloting resembling referendums held by autocrats for decades before the 2011 revolutions across the Arab world.

Any serious rivals to Sisi in the election race have been jailed or forced to quit.

Nearly 60 million Egyptians are eligible to vote in some 13,700 polling centres. Turnout appears to be low so far, with short lines in front of some polling stations and others virtually empty.

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The election comes amid the harshest crackdown on dissent in Egypt's modern history, with thousands of Islamists and secular activists in jail.

The first democratically elected leader of the country, Mohammed Morsi, was overthrown in a 2013 military coup by then army chief Sisi, who a year later was elected president in a landslide victory which saw him secure 96 percent of the vote.

Since the military coup, Egyptian authorities have launched a bloody and far-reaching crackdown on dissent, detaining thousands of political opponents and suppressing civil society and the media.

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