Nov. 28 - Egyptians swarmed polling stations in their first election since a popular revolt toppled Hosni Mubarak. Deborah Gembara reports.
Crowds jammed the doors at polling centers throughout Egypt as the country cast ballots in the first election since the overthrow of former President Hosni Mubarak. Turnout for what is being called the country's first "free election" in decades was so high, many stations stayed open for an additional two hours to accommodate the crowds. Religious conservatives and women also voted in large numbers. SOUNDBITE: Voter NIRMEEN saying: "We believe that we can make a difference. For the first time, we feel like we can really make difference." There were no reports of violence and international election observers were on hand to watch for irregularities. Frank McLoughlin, an observer from the U.S. based Carter Center says he thinks their presence helps calm concerns about election fraud. SOUNDBITE: Frank McLoughlin saying: "It helps to have people who are perceived to not have a stake, or such a stake in the outcome of the results. Also I think it helps to bolster Egypt's growing domestic observation side." Ahmed Farouk, an election official at a polling station in Cairo says he welcomes the observers. SOUNDBITE: Election official Ahmed Farouk saying: "It's not an annoyance at all, they [observers] are something very good, and anyone who wants to come here can come at any time. There's no problem at all. We know our work very well and exactly what we're doing, and we are working in God's grace. There are no problems at all so far, and when voters don't know how to vote we give them direction to guarantee that the process goes well This is the first round of a three-phase lower house election staggered over the next six weeks. Deborah Gembara, Reuters.