Polls open in historic Egyptian vote

2012-05-23 08:26

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Cairo - Polling stations opened across Egypt on Wednesday for the historic first presidential poll since a popular uprising toppled Hosni Mubarak, capping a tumultuous transition from autocratic rule.

Before the polls opened at 08:00, queues had already begun to form outside voting stations where police and army officers were stationed to secure the process.

"It's a beautiful day for Egypt," said Nehmedo Abdel Hadi, who was voting at the Omar Markram school in Cairo's Shubra neighbourhood.

More than 50 million eligible voters have been called to cast their ballots in a contest that pits Islamists against secularists and revolutionaries against members of Mubarak's regime.

Twelve candidates are running in the election that takes place over two days in 13 000 polling stations nationwide.

The main contenders are former foreign minister and Arab League chief Amr Mussa; Ahmed Shafiq, the last premier to serve under Mubarak; the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Mursi; independent Islamist Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh and Nasserist candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi.

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