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Extra day of voting in Egypt presidential poll amid low turnout

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Extra day of voting in Egypt presidential poll amid low turnout


Amid a lower than expected turnout, Egyptians are under pressure to cast their ballots in a presidential election with authorities extending the poll into a third day and threatening fines for anyone failing to vote.

Former army chief Abdul Fattah al-Sisi looks certain to win but a poor participation rate could undermine his credibility.

Aziza Anwar, a voter in Cairo, said that her husband had prevented her from voting.

“I thank God they extended it for one more day,” she said, making a victory sign and holding a small Egyptian flag.

“I have been up all night to be sure of being the first one outside. Thank God.”

Sisi himself was one of the 37 percent or so to vote on the scheduled first two days. Distancing him from the one day extension, seen by some as a desperate move, his campaign announced that the ex-military leader had objected to the decision.

His only opponent is leftist Hamdeen Sabahi. His camp rejected the extension, saying that it was an unjustified attempt at manipulation.

Turnout in the 2012 election won by Egypt’s first democratically-elected president Mohamed Mursi was 52 percent.

For Sisi, locked in a battle with Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood after toppling the Islamist leader last year, the stakes are high.

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