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Egypt puts final touch to preparations for presidential election

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-03-26 10:32
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An electoral worker distributes ballots for the upcoming presidential election at a polling station in Cairo, Egypt, on March 25, 2018. Egypt's 2018 presidential election will be held from March 26 to March 28. [Photo/Xinhua]

CAIRO - The Egyptian authorities have put the final touch to preparations for the country's three-day presidential election that kicks off Monday, with incumbent President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi expected to win a landslide victory.

"All preparations for the upcoming presidential elections have been completed in coordination with the provinces and authorities concerned with the electoral process," Minister of Local Development Abu Bakr al-Gendy said in a statement on Sunday.

"We have finished preparing all polling stations and providing all means of comfort to recieve the citizens to cast their votes," the minister said.

Egypt has over 59 million eligible voters out of the country's 104 million population. A week ago, the country wrapped up the voting process of Egyptian expatriates in 124 countries across the world.

There are some 13,706 polling stations held at schools nationwide, with about 18,000 judges overseeing the voting process that is also monitored by at least 53 local organizations and nine international ones, besides more than 680 foreign reporters.

The Egyptian military spokesman announced Sunday the deployment of armed forces soldiers to secure polling stations across the country.

"The armed forces elements have been deployed with support of elements from the special forces and the military police, and in cooperation with the Interior Ministry," military spokesman Tamer al-Refaay said in a statement.

"The armed forces have provided military planes to move the members of different judicial authorities to the remote and isolated places to facilitate the mission of overseeing judges," he added.

Refaay noted that the army has opened a media center to attentively follow up the coverages of local and foreign media outlets of Egypt's presidential election.

As for the Interior Ministry, it said it has provided hotlines to receive the inquiries of voters about addresses of polling stations and resolve any other issues they may face during the voting process.

Hours before the election kicks off, the police announced Sunday evening the killing of six terrorists during a raid in Beheira province north of the capital Cairo.

The Health Ministry, in turn, has raised readiness at all hospitals to the level of utmost alert and held a constant crisis and emergency operation room inside the ministry to ensure medical security for voters during the process.

"The medical security plan includes the deployment of 2,400 equipped ambulances around polling stations as well as public squares and main roads in all provinces across the country," Health Minister Ahmed Rady said in a statement Sunday.

For his part, Egyptian Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel-Aal urged all Egyptians to massively take part in the presidential polls to give a clear message to the world that the Egyptian people are united and supportive of their political leadership.

"Those who desire maintaining stability and building a modern Egyptian society should take part in the election," the top lawmaker said.

Sisi's sole rival in the presidential race is little known politician Moussa Mostafa Moussa, chairman of liberal Ghad Party, after a couple of possible strong challengers have either withdrawn or disqualified for violations.

The election result will be announced on April 2, according to the National Election Authority.

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