Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the general who toppled Egypt's first freely elected leader, took more than 90 percent of the vote in a presidential election marred by a dismal turnout, provisional results showed on Thursday, as he joined a long line of leaders drawn from the military.
A low turnout figure raised questions about the credibility of a man believed by some to be the country's savior, Reuters reported.
Sisi won 93.3 percent of votes cast, judicial sources said, as counting neared its conclusion after three days of voting. His only rival, leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi, gained 3 percent while 3.7 percent of votes were declared void.
Turnout was 44.4 percent of Egypt's 54 million voters, judicial sources said, less than the 40 million votes, or 80 percent of the electorate, that Sisi had called for last week and also less than the 52 percent turnout Morsi won in 2012.
"We are now divided with the turnout," said Tarek Awad, 27 and unemployed, celebrating Sisi's victory in Tahrir on Thursday morning. "If about half of voters wanted Sisi, the other half don't want him. What about them?"
The stock market, which fell 2.3 percent on Wednesday as some players said the turnout was a disappointment, was down a further 0.9 percent by late morning on Thursday. On the black market, the Egyptian pound weakened slightly.
20,000 prisoners stage hunger strike
Meanwhile, around 20,000 prisoners on Friday started a week-long hunger strike inside their prison cells in protest against alleged mistreatment, an Egyptian rights activist said.
"More than 20,000 prisoners started the hunger strike in more than 114 detention centers and prisons," Haytham Abo Khalil, the director of the Center for Human Rights Victims, told Anadolu Agency.
He added that the strike is aimed at protesting what he described as the "mistreatment" inside the nation's prisons.
Abo Khalil said by staging the strike, the prisoners want to draw attention to their suffering inside Egyptian prisons.
A recent report by the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR), a local NGO, documented over 21,000 alleged cases of individuals who had been subject to prosecution since the July 3 ouster of Morsi by the military.
There have been reports of widespread and systematic mistreatment and torture being carried out in Egyptian detention facilities.
Egyptian authorities often deny claims of maltreatment inside prisons.
The military-backed government also denies the presence of any "political" prisoners in the nation's jails, saying the thousands arrested since Morsi's ouster face criminal charges.
Egyptian authorities have launched a harsh crackdown on supporters of Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood group, killing hundreds and rounding up thousands.
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