The referendum to approve constitutional amendments that extended Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s term, granted permission for him to run for another six years in 2024, and increased the powers of his office passed Tuesday with over 88 percent of votes cast in favor, according to the Egyptian election commission.
Election commission chairman Lasheen Ibrahim swiftly announced the results after the polls closed on Tuesday.
Turnout for the referendum ended up being slightly higher than the 41 percent reported for the 2018 election, which Sisi won with 97 percent of the vote.
Critics alleged the referendum was distorted in Sisi’s favor with vote-buying tactics, including widespread reports that poor Egyptians who voted in favor of the amendments were rewarded with boxes of groceries.
Despite reams of photographic evidence about the grocery payoffs and numerous voters cheerfully telling foreign media they were rewarded with food and vouchers for their votes, the election commission insisted there were no credible reports of irregularities in the referendum.