EVERYONE pitched in. The government closed schools two weeks early and declared a national holiday. The Morale Department of the Egyptian army dispatched trucks blaring patriotic songs. Church leaders, mosque loudspeakers and television announcers urged, cajoled and in some cases angrily harangued citizens to do their patriotic duty. Yet, despite a controversial last-minute move by election officials to extend voting into an unprecedented third day, the turnout for the first presidential poll since the military coup last July was lower than its organisers had wished.
In any event, the outcome was preordained. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the former defence minister who led the coup that got rid of Egypt’s last elected president, Muhammad Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, will be its next head of state. But Mr Sisi’s supporters had confidently predicted a massive turnout and a crushing endorsement. On the eve of voting the candidate himself said he hoped 40m of Egypt’s 54m voters would cast ballots.
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