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Over 52 million Egyptians will vote to choose their president in the first-ever competitive elections to be held on Wednesday.

The voters will have to choose from 12 candidates, Islamists and secularists, in the two-day elections.

If no candidate gets an absolute majority, the top two vote-getters would compete in a runoff on June 16 and 17. The winner of the runoff would become Egypt’s [ Images ] first president since Hosni Mubarak [ Images ] and will take office before July 1.

The Cabinet met on Wednesday to discuss the monitoring of the presidential election.

Meanwhile, Justice Minister Adel Abdel Hamid has also formed an operations room for the purpose.

“People can call 19303 about any problem,” he said.

Ganzouri asked citizens to participate in the election as “their duty” and urged them to accept the decision of the majority.

“I hope the election would pass peacefully. And I call on all political forces to accept the result,” he said.

Political, revolutionary forces and trade unions have also formed operations rooms while the Judges for Egypt Movement deployed 350 judges and 1,500 observers to monitor the process.

Also, 9,457 observers from 53 various human rights groups accredited by the Presidential Elections Commission would be present at the polling stations. The Carter Centre allowed 22 international observers from 14 countries to observe the campaigning, the voting and the counting. Former US President Jimmy Carter met with Ganzouri on Tuesday to discuss the democratisation process in Egypt.

The Muslim Brotherhood has also formed 300 operation rooms and 30 committees to monitor violations, and is sending 70,000 representatives to the polling stations.

Egyptians are holding their breath lest any surprises pop up during the elections.

Secretary General of the Presidential Elections Commission Hatem Bagato has said that ousted President Hosni Mubarak and his son, Gamal, have the right to vote in the presidential election.

Bagato said that the commission has not yet received a request from them to take part in the election. He confirmed that the commission is still studying requests from detainees to vote.

Sources at the interior ministry’s prison department said there are between 7,000 and 10,000 inmates detained in 42 prisons pending investigations who have the right to cast their votes in the presidential election on Wednesday and Thursday, provided that they apply for it.

The sources added that former President Mubarak, who is detained in a medical centre, and 44 former regime officials, held in five different prisons, have not applied to vote.

Egyptian law allows detainees to vote as long as they have not been convicted.

It is impossible for thousands of detainees to vote because voting requires polling stations, civil workers and judges to supervise the elections, particularly as prisoners number over 3,000 in various prisons in Cairo and 1,000 in Tora.

SOURCE:rediff news

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