Russian President Vladimir Putin telephoned Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi on Friday to congratulate him “on his convincing victory” in Egypt’s presidential election, ahead of the official announcement of the result.
Al-Sisi thanked Putin and said “he is ready for close cooperation with Russia on bilateral issues and on the international agenda,” according to the Russian presidency’s Friday statement. Both men also “expressed confidence that the rich traditions of friendly relations between Russia and Egypt will continue to develop in all areas”.
Preliminary results suggest that Al-Sisi has claimed a runaway victory over Nasserist Hamdeen Sabahy, winning 96.88% of the vote, according to state owned Al-Ahram. Al-Sisi had been tipped to win the election following popular support he gained since the overthrow of former President Mohamed Morsi last July.
Putin has expressed his support for Al-Sisi in the past, praising his decision to run for president when the latter visited Moscow in February.
The United States Department of State spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters at a Friday press briefing that the US “will speak to the election when the official results are announced”.
In response to a question asking whether there were concerns that Russia moved quickly to congratulate Al-Sisi, Psaki dismissed the notion, adding: “We have a strong relationship, a long, enduring relationship with Egypt, and we remain in touch with a range of officials and that will continue.”
Psaki also reiterated US concerns over the climate surrounding the election, including the polling which started last Monday and was extended for a third day in an attempt to encourage more people to vote. The concerns over the electoral climate were shared by some of the international observation missions in their preliminary statements on the election. The European Union Election Observation Mission said that while the process was “administered in line with the law” it occurred “in an environment falling short of constitutional principles”.