An unexpected national holiday Tuesday and a whole unscheduled third day of voting Wednesday have come to an end, and polls are finally closed in Egypt’s dubious election, which will install junta leader Abdel Fattah el-Sisi as the “elected” ruler of the nation.
Yet the credibility of Sisi’s win is very much in doubt, and not just because all of the real alternative parties have long since been banned and their leaders ordered executed. Rather it is the extremely low turnout, despite intense junta pressure, that is denying Sisi any realistic claim of a voter mandate.
The decision to keep the polls open a third day in the hopes of shoring up numbers seems only to have added to the embarrassment for Sisi, as the mostly empty polling places of Tuesday were totally abandoned Wednesday, and reporters on the ground found more military forces “protecting” the polls than voters seeking to cast ballots.
Reports of Sisi receiving 93.4% of the vote seem much less impressive in that the only other man on the ballot, Hamdeen Sabahi, spent the whole campaign season trying to campaign just enough to seem like he was there without ending up in prison for putting on too good a showing against the inevitable victor. Sabahi came in a distant third in the vote, behind not only Sisi but ballots that were deemed void for being improperly filled out.