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High turnout in the Egyptian presidential election

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The first democratic presidential election in Egypt's history is taking place this week. Nearly 51 million people have the right to vote after years of political domination by one party and personality.

Voters entered the polling stations without knowing the obvious winner in advance for the first time. In previous elections, ousted president Hosni Mubarak always got 99.9 per cent of votes cast and his "re-election" was a foregone conclusion.


The voters were very happy despite having to stand in long queues at polling stations. Some arrived two hours before the poll opened. The results are expected to be announced next Friday.

Voters had to choose between 13 candidates for the position of the "Revolution's President", the final act in the transitional phase overseen by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces since the end of Mubarak's rule. Security was visible across the country with officers on high alert.

Prosecutor Hatem Begato, Secretary General of the Higher Election Committee, said that the voting process began on time, except for three centres whose staff arrived late. The turnout, he said, "is enormous and even bigger than expected". Begato promised that these elections will be "a democratic party that the whole world is going to witness."

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