Egypt: last day of the presidential election

Egypt: last day of the presidential election

"Voting is proceeding calmly throughout the country," said mohammed abdel hadi, a member of the judicial commission overseeing the ballot. State television reported minor scuffles between supporters of rival candidates in the nile delta province of kafr al-sheikh. The independent group observers without borders found 143 violations of election rules on wednesday, the first day of voting.

The ballot, in which 52 million citizens were eligible to vote, is considered historic. For the first time, the people of agyprus freely and democratically elected the first man of the state. He will succeed long-time ruler husni mubarak, who is currently on trial and was ousted by a popular uprising in february 2011. Results are not expected until saturday at the earliest.

However, a winner is not expected in this round of voting. Since none of the candidates was allowed to reach 50 percent of the votes at the first attempt, a runoff election between the two best-placed candidates will probably take place in mid-june. The most promising candidates were two secular political professionals – mubarak’s last prime minister, ahmed shafik, and the former secretary general of the arab league, amre mussa – and two islamists – the candidate of the muslim brotherhood, mohammed mursi, and the former muslim brother abdel moneim abul futuh.

Also on thursday, people outside the polling stations showed rough enthusiasm. "It is the first time that our vote pays in a presidential election," many said. But there were also fears that in the end, supporters of losing candidates might not recognize the result and could shock the country with new outbreaks of violence, especially if a secular candidate won the race. Others doubted that the generals of the supreme military council, which has ruled since mubarak’s resignation, would actually relinquish power if they had to hand it over to an elected president from the islamist camp.

Occasionally, the waves of passion ran high. On the first day of voting, there were also brawls between supporters of different candidates outside some polling stations. According to the state media, the authorities have reported a total of 28 injuries, which is well below the level of violence seen in previous elections in egypt. Sacular candidate shafik was pelted with shoes by a crowd during voting on wednesday. He remained unharmed according to his campaign staff.

The observers without borders network found attempts to influence voters, the organization said in cairo on thursday. According to official figures, 300,000 soldiers and police officers were deployed to ensure that the election proceeded peacefully.

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