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Egyptian Elections Extended a Day after Low Turnout

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May 27, 2014

Egyptian voters got a third day to vote in the latest presidential election, after government officials extended the voting after reports of low turnout at the polls.

The expected winner is Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the former army chief who was in charge of the military when it ousted former President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013. The only other candidate on the ballot is Hamdeen Sabahi, who finished in the election that brought Morsi to power in 2012.

Egypt has about 54 million registered voters, in a country with a population of more than 80 million. Turnout after the official two days of voting was estimated at 35 percent, a stark drop from the 52 percent total from the 2012 election. The Muslim Brotherhood, once the country's most populous and well-organized political party, had urged its members to boycott the election. (A similar boycott by Brotherhood opponents led to the lower than expected turnout in 2012.)

Sisi had offered little in the way of concrete plans for moving the country forward, other than lofty promises. What has been front and center for many voters is the government's quite visible crackdown on the Brotherhood and its supporters. Hundreds of people have died in police crackdowns, even more hundreds have been injured, and a court recently sentenced several hundred to death.

Once the president is proclaimed, the government will schedule elections for Parliament.

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