Sisi calls for big turnout in Egyptian election

CAIRO - President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Thursday his government had fulfilled its promises during his first term and called on Egyptians to vote in large numbers in an election where he is seeking a second term in office.

The former army chief is widely expected to win by a huge margin in the March 26-28 vote, since his only challenger leads a party that supports the Egyptian president.

Neither candidate has done much campaigning, appealing instead for a high turnout to give the victor a strong mandate. Sisi won nearly 97 percent of the vote in 2014, but less than half of eligible Egyptians voted even though the election was extended to three days.

"If (all Egyptians) vote and a third say 'No', that would be a lot better than if half that number turn out and all of them say 'Yes'," Sisi said during a visit to the Interior Ministry.

Sisi also told a conference of military officers and relatives of soldiers killed in action that his first four years in office had brought stability and security after the tumult which followed the popular uprising of 2011.

"We achieved our promise and you have to achieve your promise. As we didn't abandon you, you should not abandon (us)," Sisi said.

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