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Mubarak Wins Egypt Presidential Election

September 10, 2005 00:40 IST

Egypt's elections commission declared Hosni Mubarak the winner of the country's first contested presidential elections Friday, an expected victory in a vote marred by allegations of fraud but still praised as progress toward democratic reform.

Turnout in Wednesday's election was 23 per cent of Egypt's 32 million registered voters, the commission's head Mamdouh Marie told reporters, announcing the final results.

Mubarak received 88 per cent of the vote, the commission said.

Ayman Nour of the opposition Al-Ghad party came in second with 7.3 per cent of the vote.

In office for 24 years, Mubarak had been expected to win the election by a wide margin. But his government has insisted the important thing was the process, saying the election heralds more reforms in this key US ally, which has seen only autocratic rule for 50 years.

Opponents dismissed the ballot, sceptical that Mubarak will give up his long unquestioned power. Until now, the president has been re-elected in 'yes-no' referendums in which he was the only candidate.

Nour came in second despite forgery charges against him that he says the government concocted to wreck his candidacy and widespread dismissal of him by government media.

Ordinary voters, opposition parties and some monitoring groups reported widespread pressure and incentives for people to back Mubarak.

For example, ruling party officials were present in some stations as people voted, pro-Mubarak posters were rife at polling stations, and tribal leaders in some areas reported being told by police to make sure their followers backed the president.

Nadia Abou El-Magd in Cairo
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