EU: Egypt vote ‘in line with the law’
CAIRO - A European Union team that observed Egypt's presidential election said Thursday the vote was conducted "in line with the law," although it regretted the lack of participation of some "stakeholders".
Preliminary results from the three-day election that ended on Wednesday gave 96 percent of votes to Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the ex-army chief who toppled Islamist president Mohamed Morsi last year.
Sisi's opponents say that since he deposed Morsi, Egypt has returned to autocratic rule, with more than 1,400 killed in street clashes and at least 15,000 jailed in a crackdown on the Islamist's supporters.
Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, blacklisted by the military-installed authorities as a "terrorist" organisation, had called for a boycott of the election.
"The presidential election was administrated in line with the law, in an environment falling short of constitution principles," the EU observer mission's chief, Mario David, told a Cairo news conference.
"Freedoms of association, assembly and expression are areas of concern, including in the context of this election," said David.
The European Union mission said the election was held in a "peaceful and calm manner" with "only minor procedural problems and a limited number of violations".
"Opposition to the roadmap or to the environment in which it is implemented has resulted in the non-participation of some stakeholders," it said in a likely reference to the banned Brotherhood and youth dissident groups.
"This undermined universal participation in the election," said a statement.
Prominent activists behind the uprising which ousted strongman Hosni Mubarak in 2011 had also called for a boycott, charging that Sisi is an autocrat in the making.
Dozens of young activists have been jailed for violating a law banning all but police-authorised protests.