Egypt goes to polls Wednesday


Cairo : More than 50 million voters in Egypt will Wednesday decide who will lead them as president after more than a year since the fall of Hosni Mubarak who ruled the North African country for 30 years.

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Around 14,500 judges will monitor the presidential elections nationwide in addition to 65,000 public servants, according to the official MENA news agency.

According to recent opinion polls, former Egyptian foreign minister and Arab League chief Amr Moussa, Islamist leader Mohamed Aboul Fotouh, Freedom and Justice Party chairman Mohamed Morsi and former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq are the top hopefuls among the 13 presidential candidates.

Armed forces and police will coordinate to secure the voting sites, the judges and the voters, said Xinhua.

Voting cards where forgery will be difficult are ready, the report said.

A run-off will be held in mid-June if no one wins in the first round.

Overseas Egyptians have already voted in more than 100 countries.

The final results will be announced June 21, and the current military rulers will transfer power by June 30.

A poll by the state-run Al-Ahram Center found Moussa leading the pack with 31 percent. Ex-prime minister Ahmed Shafiq was in second place at 23 percent, while the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Mursi was third along with Islamist Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh with roughly 15 percent apiece, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Results from 15 embassies and consulates worldwide placed Abol Fotouh on top with nearly 12,000 votes. Hamdeen Sabahy, a leftist nationalist has come in a surprise second with some 8,000 votes, with Moussa just behind and Mursi and Shafiq bringing up the rear.

The elections would be the first since Mubarak was ousted after 18 days of demonstrations in February 2011. He ruled Egypt for 30 years, after assuming the presidency in October 1981, following the assassination of then president Anwar Sadat.

Mubarak is now facing a trial on charges of corruption and abuse of power and premeditated murder of peaceful protesters. He may be sentenced to death if found guilty.