Egypt’s presidential election commission officially declared Abdel Fattah el-Sisi the country’s new president on Tuesday, after the former military chief won an overwhelming majority of votes in last month’s polls.
“Based on the polls from May 15 to 19 and from May 26 to 28, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi wins the election,” commission chairman Anwar al-Assi told a press conference in Cairo.
According to the commission, Sisi received 23,780,104 votes, or 96.91 percent of the total, while the leftist leader and only other candidate Hamdeen Sabahy won 757,511 votes, about 3.1 percent of the total.
Assi said that around 25 million of the country’s 53.9 million eligible voters took part in the polls, a turnout of only 47.45 percent.
The lower than expected turnout cast some doubts over the credibility of the man who led efforts to remove former President Mohamed Morsi from power last year following mass protests.
Assi described the election as”fair and free,” and said it was monitored by more than 100,000 foreign observers and over 15,500 local observers. Representatives from the European Union, African Union, Arab League and the European and Arab Parliaments as well as other regional and international bodies took part in monitoring the polls, according to Assi.
Newly elected President Sisi spoke on television soon after the official announcement. He expressed his gratitude to his rival, and called on Egyptians to work together for the success of the country.
Local news reports say defeated challenger Sabahy called his opponent on Tuesday evening to congratulate him.
Following the announcement many Sisi supporters took to the streets in celebration, with large crowds forming in Cairo’s iconic Tahrir Square.
“I don’t know how to express my excitement. As you can see, Egyptians are celebrating Sisi’s presidential victory,” said supporter Said.
“I am very happy that el-Sisi is elected as the president. I don’t want the Muslim Brotherhood to be back again. I support Sisi,” said Souad.
People started gathering in the square early in the day, waving Egyptian flags and displaying posters of Sisi.
The military closed all roads leading into Tahrir Square, allowing only pedestrians to enter.
A number of Arab leaders sent congratulatory messages to the newly elected president, offering support to Egypt and its citizens under their new leader.
Egyptian Election by the Numbers