Voting closes in Egypt’s presidential elections, with el-Sissi almost certain to win a third term #Voting #closes #Egypts #presidential #elections #elSissi #win #term

CAIRO (AP) — Voting closed on Tuesday in Egypt’s presidential election that is almost certain to see President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi secure a third term.

The election has been overshadowed by the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, a conflict on Egypt’s eastern border that threatens to expand into wider regional turmoil.

Voting began Sunday. According to a timetable published by the National Election Authority, the results will be announced on Dec. 18.

El-Sissi, who has been president for over nine years, faces no serious challenger. The three other candidates include Farid Zahran, head of the opposition Social Democratic Party; Abdel-Sanad Yamama, chairman of the Wafd Party; and Hazem Omar, head of the Republican People’s Party.

More than 67 million Egyptians were eligible to vote, with the turnout yet to be announced. As of noon Monday, 45% of the eligible electorate had cast their ballots, the National Election Authority said.

A runoff is set for Jan. 8-10 if no candidate secures more than 50% of the vote.

The North African country faces an economic crisis, with inflation surging. One third of Egypt’s 105 million people live in poverty, according to official figures.

El-Sissi came to power in 2014, a year after he as defense minister led the military removal of the elected but divisive Islamist President Mohammed Morsi during widespread street protests against his rule.

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