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Sissi eyes big turnout to give him credibility as Egypt vote wraps up

CAIRO--Egypt was wrapping up a presidential election Tuesday with frontrunner ex-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sissi eyeing a strong turnout to give credibility to his overthrow of the elected Islamist president.

The retired field marshal's supporters have expressed fears of a low turnout after the first day of voting, as Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood and secular dissidents called for a boycott.

As polls opened for the second and final day of voting, authorities announced that they were declaring a public holiday and extending polling hours until 1900 GMT to encourage voters to cast their ballots.

A comfortable win for former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sissi over his sole rival leftist Hamdeen Sabbahi has never been seriously in doubt.

But Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, subjected to a brutal police crackdown in which hundreds of its supporters have been killed, has called for boycott and said it will not recognize the election's outcome.

So too have key activists behind the Arab Spring uprising that toppled long-time strongman Hosni Mubarak in 2011, who fear Sissi is an autocrat in the making.

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Egyptian women raise up the national flag outside a polling station after casting their vote on the second day of Egypt's presidential election in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, yesterday.

(AFP

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