With nearly all votes in Egypt's presidential election counted, the country's former military chief has won a crushing victory over his sole opponent with more than 92% of the votes, according to results announced by his campaign early today. The campaign of retired field marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said he won 23.38 million votes, with left-wing politician Hamdeen Sabahi taking 735,285 votes—putting his share of the vote below that of invalid votes, of which there were 1.07 million. Sissi's win was never in doubt, but the 59-year-old career infantry officer had hoped for a strong turnout to bestow legitimacy on his ouster last July of Egypt's first freely elected president, the Islamist Mohamed Morsi.
However, el-Sissi's campaign said turnout nationwide was around 44%, even after voting was extended for a third day yesterday—well below the nearly 52% turnout in the June 2012 election won by Morsi. The tepid turnout was particularly embarrassing because the government and media had been whipping up adulation for el-Sissi over the past 10 months, depicting him as a warrior against terrorism and the only person able to tackle Egypt's economic problems, high unemployment, inflation, and instability. (Read more Egypt stories.)