Friday, May 25, 2012

Egypt's presidential polling ends for the first day

The Supreme Presidential Election Commission decided earlier in the day to close the polling stations at 9 p.m. local time (GMT 1900), an hour later than scheduled, to allow more citizens who queued outside the stations to vote.

Thousands of people, with excitement and enthusiasm, flocked to polling stations across Egypt which opened at 8:00 a.m. (GMT 0600) to cast their votes in the first presidential election since the fall of former president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.

Counting will start immediately after Thursday's vote, according to the official MENA news agency.

"The electoral process in first day finished in an organized and peaceful way under the full supervision of the judges," MENA quoted sources from the election committee as saying.

To ensure the transparency and fairness of the elections, 14, 500 judges and 65,000 public servants were deployed nationwide to monitor the process. Three foreign civil society organizations and 49 local ones were allowed to observe the event. Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter is also in Egypt to monitor the election with his Carter Center.

There are about 50 million eligible voters, who will elect one president from 12 candidates. Top hopefuls include former Arab League chief Amr Moussa, Islamist Aboul Fotouh, Freedom and Justice Party chairman Mohamed Morsi, former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq and left-wing Nasserist Hamdeen Sabahy.