Egypt Election: Liverpool soccer star emerges as top challenger to Sisi

And he was not even on the ballot.

April 1, 2018 09:33
1 minute read.

Soccer star Mohamed Salah runner-up for president of Egypt (Reuters)

Soccer star Mohamed Salah runner-up for president of Egypt (Reuters)


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Egyptian professional soccer star Mohamed Salah, who plays for Liverpool and the Egyptian national team, came in second place in the Egyptian presidential elections last Thursday.

And he was not even on the ballot.

More than a million voters crossed out the names of the two actual candidates and wrote the name of the English Premier League top scorer instead, making him the runner-up to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who gained roughly 96% of the vote, The Economist reported on Saturday.

According to the report, more people spoiled their ballots by writing in Salah's name than voted for Sisi's only challenger, Moussa Mostafa Moussa, who was widely dismissed as a dummy candidate.
Food, buses, and cash: Getting out the vote the Egyptian way, March 29, 2018 (Reuters)

All serious opposition dropped out the election race earlier this year, citing intimidation, after the main challenger, another former military chief, was arrested. For Sisi, the focus was on turnout, since he faced no credible opposition.

Initial estimates by state media placed turnout at around 40 percent at most, well below the 47 percent in the vote that brought Sisi his first term in 2014.

Critics say the contest recalled the kind of vote that kept Arab autocrats in power for decades before the 2011 Arab Spring.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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