Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak has won a fifth term as leader but only 23 per cent of the electorate turned out to vote.
The result was never in doubt in Egypt’s first contested presidential election but Mubarak was hoping for more of an affirmation of his 24 years in the job.
The election is being seen as a “nod” to international critisism over Egypt’s lack of democracy and open political debate.
But while the election campaign produced some scathing public attacks on the president, his nine opponents were little known and never really in with a chance.
Egypt’s largest opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, did not field a candidate as it has been banned from forming a political party.
Despite vociferous oposition to the election from parties on the left who claimed the election would be a sham and predicted ballot-rigging, the election stands.
In November, Egypt’s legislature will be up for election. Winning five per cent of the vote then will guarantee candidature in the 2011 presidential poll.
It remains to be seen if more of Egypt’s political parties can participate and if they manage to engage the confidence of the voters.