Egypt goes to polls to elect new president

Monday 26 May 2014 11.24
Egypt's ex-army chief and leading presidential candidate Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (Centre) arrives to vote in Cairo
Egypt's ex-army chief and leading presidential candidate Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (Centre) arrives to vote in Cairo

Voting is under way in Egypt in a presidential election, which is expected to sweep former army chief Abdel Fatah al-Sisi into office.

Three years after the historic uprising against Hosni Mubarak, the vote is set to restore a pattern of rule by men from the military after Mr Sisi toppled Egypt's first freely-elected leader, Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood.             

Voters lined up to cast ballots at heavily-guarded polling stations from 9am.

Mr Sisi faces only one challenger in the two-day vote: the leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi.             

Widely regarded as Egypt's de facto leader since he toppled Mr Mursi after mass protests, Mr Sisi faces manifold challenges including an economy in crisis and a campaign of Islamist violence that has spiralled since he overthrew Mr Mursi.             

To the Islamists, the 59-year-old is the mastermind of a bloody coup that led to a crackdown that has killed hundreds of Mursi supporters and landed thousands more in jail.

Secular dissidents who led the 2011 uprising against Mubarak have also been imprisoned.             

The Brotherhood and its allies have called for a boycott.             

As he voted in Cairo, Mr Sisi waved to supporters, who shouted "President, President!"             

"Today Egyptians are going to write their history," said Mr Sisi, who is seeking a big turnout by voters to provide him with a strong mandate.

Keywords: egypt