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Millions participate in the first free elections in Egypt

Politics Suez, Egypt - 25 May 2012

Millions of Egyptians participated in the first free elections in Egypt in its history.

According to the Guardian, "Egypt's historic presidential election was on a knife edge early on Friday as first results pointed to a commanding performance by the Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi, who is now likely to go on to compete in a runoff vote next month.

Morsi's apparent lead was trumpeted by the well-organised Islamist movement soon after the polls closed on the second day of the two-day vote – the first time Egyptians have ever had a genuine choice of leader.

With fewer than 10% of the results declared, the overall outcome was still far too close to call. But the two leading contenders will fight a tense French-style second round on 16-17 June. If Morsi's position is confirmed, he will face either a rival independent Islamist or one of three other frontrunners.

Earlier, in a dramatic development, the former Arab League chief Amr Moussa moved to dominate the centre ground by calling on Ahmed Shafiq, Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister and his chief rival for the "stability" vote, to pull out.

"We need to build on the revolution and not go back to the days before it," Moussa told al-Arabiya TV. "I am calling on Shafiq to withdraw from the presidential race. I want to put a stop to his campaign if he wants to return to the past."

Shafiq, derided by critics as a discredited fuloul (remnant) of the Mubarak era, insisted he would not withdraw. Both candidates have been targeting millions of Egyptians who want an experienced politician regardless of their role under Mubarak."

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