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Abdel Fattah El-Sissi Wins Egypt Presidential Poll in Landslide

Lower than expected turnout raises questions about his credibility after his supporters had idolized him as a hero who can deliver stability.

CAIRO - Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, the general who toppled Egypt's first freely elected leader, swept to victory in a presidential election, provisional results showed on Thursday, joining a long line of leaders drawn from the military.

But a lower than expected turnout figure raised questions about el-Sissi's credibility after his supporters had idolized him as a hero who can deliver political and economic stability.

Abdel Fattah el-Sissi gestures after casting ballot in Cairo on Tuesday. He swept to victory Thursday as supporters brushed aside concerns about human rights and hailed him as the strong leader Egypt needs.AMR ABDALLAH DALSH / Reuters

El-Sissi captured 93.3 percent of votes cast as counting nearly came to a close, judicial sources said. His only rival, leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi, gained 3.0 percent while 3.7 percent of votes were declared void.

Fireworks erupted in Cairo when Sisi's results began to emerge. His supporters waved Egyptian flags and sounded car horns on the crowded streets of the capital.

Celebrations lasted through the early hours of the morning.

About 1,000 people gathered in Tahrir Square, the symbolic heart of the popular uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak in 2011 and raised hopes of a democracy free of influence from the military. El-Sissi supporters honked car horns and waved flags.

Dancing dolls dressed in army fatigues quickly went on sale in Tahrir, a reminder of the army's wide influence in Egypt.

El-Sissi is the latest in a line of Egyptian rulers from the military that was only briefly broken during Islamist President Mohamed Morsi's year in office.

El-Sissi, who ousted Mursi last year after mass protests against his rule, is seen by supporters as a strong figure who can end the turmoil that has convulsed Egypt since the revolution that ended Mubarak's 30 years in power.

But critics fear he will become another autocrat who will preserve the army's interests, and quash hopes of democracy and reform aroused by the protests that swept Mubarak.

El-Sissi enjoys the backing of the powerful armed forces and the Interior Ministry, as well many politicians and former Mubarak officials now making a comeback.

"We are joyful because el-Sissi got so many votes, the results will come after an hour, we are here to celebrate," said Kawther Mohamed, who went to Tahrir with her daughters.

A supporter holds an Egyptian flag while celebrating at Tahrir Square in Cairo May 28, 2014.MOHAMED ABD EL GHANY / Reuters