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Trump congratulates Egyptian president for winning election with 97% of vote

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Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) shakes hands with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sisi before a meeting in Cairo on Dec. 11, 2017. Both men won largely uncontested elections in the past month, and both received congratulations afterward from President Donald Trump. (Alexander Zemlianichenko/AFP/Getty Images)

On Monday, President Donald Trump congratulated Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi for winning a second term with 97 percent of the vote.

El-Sisi’s only “opposition” in this election was an obscure candidate named Moussa Mustafa Moussa – who supported el-Sisi and did not even campaign against him. In order to ensure high voter turnout, the Egyptian government threatened to fine anyone who attempted to boycott the multiple-day vote.

According to a news release from the White House:

“President Donald J. Trump spoke today with President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi of Egypt. President Trump congratulated President Al Sisi on his reelection. The two leaders affirmed the strategic partnership between the United States and Egypt, and noted that they look forward to advancing this partnership and addressing common challenges.”

Trump has also been criticized for congratulating Russian President Vladimir Putin on his March 18 victory in another highly suspicious election. Putin won with 76.60 percent of the vote, and barred any serious opposition candidates from running.

In his acceptance speech, el-Sisi reminded voters that their rights came second to what he saw as the greater good :"Egypt is large enough for all Egyptians, so long as our differences of opinion do not adversely affect the nation," he said.

Because Moussa only entered the race toward the end of the campaign season, critics accused him of only running to make it seem like there was more than one candidate in the race. Moussa in turn accused these critics of having “ulterior motives against the country.”

“They wanted it to be a referendum, but I turned it into a free and open election,” he said. El-Sisi thanked Moussa for the "patriotic, honorable and civilized competition."

A year ago, on April 3, 2017, Trump met with el-Sisi in the Oval Office, and praised him in a brief statement to the media.

“We agree on so many things,” Trump said of el-Sisi at the time. “I just want to let everybody know, in case there was any doubt, that we are very much behind President el-Sisi. He’s done a fantastic job in a very difficult situation. We are very much behind Egypt and the people of Egypt, and the United States has, believe me, backing and we have strong backing.”

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