05/24/2012, 00.00
EGYPT

Egypt, high turnout and few disturbances in first post-Mubarak presidential election

Kilometre long queues in front of polling stations in Cairo and major cities across the country. In a neighbourhood of the capital, security personnel deny women with the full veil access to the polls. Shoes and stones at presidential candidate Shafiq Ahmed former prime minister under the regime. Voting results released in June.

Cairo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The second day of voting in Egypt's presidential elections are underway. Yesterday, long queues formed in front of polling stations in Cairo and major cities across the country. So far there have been no serious disturbances. There were, however, protests against the candidate Shafiq Ahmed, former prime minister of the Mubarak government. Yesterday afternoon, a group of people targeted the politician's convoy with shoes and stones. There were no injuries. In some polling stations in the capital, security personnel denied access to women with the full veil, but there were no reactions from Islamists.

This morning, the Egyptian Interior Ministry denied the news of the death of a policeman during clashes linked to the elections, reported yesterday by the local newspapers. According to authorities, the agent was killed in a normal police operation, during a clash between rival gangs in the outskirts of Cairo.

At least 50 million Egyptians are called to vote in the first free elections after the fall of Mubarak.

Hatem Begatu, general secretary of the electoral commission, said that'' the turnout is huge and more than expected.'' All 13 thousand seats, but three, opened at 8 am. The voting process is controlled by the army, which temporarily assumed powers in February 2011 and by local and international non-governmental organizations.

Voting will close this evening at 20.00 local time. The first results should be published in June. Among the 12 candidates the favorites are: Amr Moussa, former secretary general of the Arab League and Foreign Minister under Mubarak, Abdul Fotouh, but detached from the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammed Mursi, Justice and Freedom Party candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood.

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