Egyptians vote in the nation’s first election

Written on:May 23, 2023
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Egypt vote could open up new leadership

Tens of thousands of Egyptians queued for hours outside polling stations today to vote in their first free presidential elections, hosted almost 15 months after the end of three decades of autocratic rule by Hosni Mubarak.

The two-day vote, which kicked off today, marks the culmination of a mass uprising that eradicated an autocratic ruler. Although there are concerns that the nation’s military rulers who took over after Mubarak would try to retain influence.

Over 50 million Egyptians streamed to polling stations to choose their president among thirteen candidates, including Islamists, liberals and Mubarak regime figures. Egypt’s next president will be the nation’s fifth since the monarchy by Mubarak was toppled following a 1952 coup.

“I can die in a matter of months, so I came for my children, so they can live,” said Medhat Ibrahim, 58, who suffers from cancer, as he waited to vote in a poor district south of Cairo.

Egyptians are hopeful that the election will bring end to the turbulent transition period, which saw deadly street clashes, crime and human rights abuses. “It’s a miracle. And it’s a beautiful feeling too”, said Selwa Abdel-Malik, a 60-year-old woman from Alexandria.

But, the two-day vote is not expected to produce an outright winner, therefore a runoff between the two top candidates will be held June 16-17. The winner will be announced June 21. The powers that the new president will have is yet unclear as the country’s constitution is not yet finalised.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which took presidential powers in February 2011, has said it has no intention to cling on to power, but it is still unclear what authority it wants to retain after the elections.

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