CAIRO — Former Egyptian army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi called for a big turnout Sunday in presidential elections that he is expected to win easily, countering a call for a boycott by allies of deposed Islamist president Mohamed Mursi.
Sisi faces only leftist Hamdeen Sabahi in the May 26-27 election. Sabahi placed third in the 2012 election won by Mursi.
Sisi called on Egyptians to vote in “unprecedented numbers for the sake of Egypt,” according to an official statement outlining comments he made Sunday during a meeting with investors in the tourism industry.
In a statement made on Facebook, the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy also said it would not recognize election monitoring planned by “Western supporters of the coup” — an reference to the European Union, which has agreed to send an observation mission.
Sisi was widely seen as Egypt’s de facto leader after deposing Mursi. He stepped down as head of the military and defense minister last month to begin his presidential bid.
His supporters see him as the kind of strong figure needed to stabilize a country in crisis while his opponents see him as the mastermind of a bloody coup that robbed power from Egypt’s first freely-elected leader.