Middle East

Egypt vote turnout 'about 37' percent: official

Supporters of presidential candidate former army chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi hold his posters and wave national flags as they celebrate during the second day of presidential elections in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, May 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

CAIRO: About 37 percent of egypt's eligible voters cast ballots in two days of presidential elections, an electoral official said Tuesday, after polling was extended for another day.

That was well below the almost 52 percent who voted when Islamist Mohamed Morsi was elected in 2012.

Backers of ex-army chief and frontrunner Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had hoped for a large turnout as a show of support for his overthrow of Morsi last July.

Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, harried by a police crackdown since his ouster, had called for a boycott.

The electoral commission decided to extend the voting for a third day after reports of low turnout, citing a "heat wave" during the day.

Judge Abdel Aziz Salman, the commission's secretary general, said "the percentage of voters was about 37 percent," the official MENA news agency reported.

He added that the number was not an official tally.

Sisi's sole rival, leftist Hamdeen Sabbahi, criticised the decision to extend voting, saying it called the elections into doubt. His campaign said he went into a meeting to consider his response.

Sisi's campaign also criticised the extension.





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