Egypt’s Presidential Polls witness High Turnout

Millions of Egyptians have cast their ballots across the North African country as the first day of polling to choose a new president wraps up.

The turnout was high on Wednesday in the country’s first free presidential elections since dictator Hosni Mubarak was toppled in a popular revolution last year. 

The attendance was particularly high in Cairo where long queues stretching outside the polling stations caused traffic jam.

Closing time was extended for an extra hour as Egyptians swarmed the polling stations. 

Fifty million people are eligible to vote in Egypt. Around 13,000 polling stations, spread across the country’s 27 provinces, opened at 8:00 a.m. (0600 GMT) and closed at 9:00 p.m, including the extra hour. 

Voting will continue on Thursday and the counting process will start immediately afterwards. 

Thirteen candidates are running in the elections. The top hopefuls are former Arab League chief Amr Moussa, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Mursi, independent Islamic candidate Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh, and Mubarak’s last Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq. 

The ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) has pledged a fair electoral process followed by civilian rule. 

Mursi has swept the country’s expatriate vote, securing 40 percent of the ballots cast by the Egyptians residing abroad, according to Press TV.