March 29, 2018 / 6:00 AM / a year ago

Preliminary results show Egypt's Sisi leading voting: newspaper

An electoral worker sorts ballots to count votes after polls closed during the presidential election in Cairo, Egypt, March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

CAIRO (Reuters) - Preliminary results show President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is leading Egypt’s presidential election with 21.5 million votes, state-owned newspaper Akhbar el-Youm reported on Thursday.

Sisi is running almost unchallenged after the other serious candidates were either arrested or intimidated and he is widely expected to win a second four-year term.

The electoral commission issued a last-minute call for people to vote, hoping to boost the turnout figure that Sisi regards as vital to legitimizing his victory.

His only challenger, Moussa Mostafa Moussa, a Sisi supporter, garnered 721,000 votes, the newspaper reported.

There are about 60 million eligible voters in Egypt. Some voters said they had received payments and other inducements to cast their ballots. Final results are due on Monday.

Reporting by Hesham Hajali; Editing by Kim Coghill and Jason Neely

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