"The commission said the decision was to give a chance to the largest number of people to participate in the polls. Critics, however, said it was for Sisi to get a decisive show of support as he needed a strong turnout to prove he enjoyed popular backing across Egypt."
Cairo, May 29 - The initial poll count points to a landslide victory for Egypt's former military chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in the presidential election.

Sisi won about 95 percent of the ballots collected from nearly half of the polling stations, Xinhua cited Nile Television as quoting his campaign team.

Sisi had already received more than 10.5 million votes, while his sole rival, Leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahy received about 350,000, the report said.

Sisi's popularity has surged since the military toppled former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July last year in what pro-Morsi supporters claimed to be a military coup.

The security crackdown that followed has left hundreds of protestors dead while thousands of others were arrested. Morsi himself is also in prison and faces several charges, including murder and spying.

Judge Tarek Shebl, member of the general secretariat of the Presidential Election Commission, told reporters that an estimated 25 million out of the total 53.8 million eligible voters cast their ballots. Nationwide voter turnout was around 46 percent, lower than the nearly 52 percent of the mid-2012 presidential race won by Morsi.

The final result would be released Sunday or Monday, he added.

Sisi, 59, was expected to trounce Sabahy in the three-day presidential election that wrapped up Wednesday night. The count process started nationwide soon after all the 14,000 polling stations were closed.

Voting was previously scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, but the election commission announced Tuesday afternoon the extension of polling by one day. The sudden move has drawn criticisms and raised questions over the justice of the election.

The commission said the decision was to give a chance to the largest number of people to participate in the polls. Critics, however, said it was for Sisi to get a decisive show of support as he needed a strong turnout to prove he enjoyed popular backing across Egypt.

Sisi's supporters have begun celebrating in Cairo, with hundreds of them gathering at the historic Tahrir square.


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