May 18 - From social justice and equality to increased job opportunities and tighter security, Egyptians are placing high hopes on their future president. Lily Grimes reports.
Expectations are high as Egyptian voters look forward to electing a new president next week. Twelve candidates are competing in the first presidential elections since the popular uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak last year. This man says, after public safety, jobs are a top priority. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SUPERMARKET OWNER, AHMED EID ALI, SAYING: "The first thing we need is security. We need to deal with unemployment and get jobs for the people. Egyptians who have graduated from universities with degrees sit at local coffee shops all day doing nothing. So we need all of these people to work, we need a president to find jobs for them, find them land or factories to work in." Others see a need for guidance through the transition to democracy. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EGYPTIAN JOURNALIST, SHAHIRA AMIN, SAYING: "What we need is someone who will realise stability but also listen to the needs of the people which are dignity, bread, social justice, freedom, democracy - real democracy. And of course we need to educate the public because we're taking our first, very small steps, towards democracy and it's a long process. So we need him to walk us down that road.'' The presidential contest, which gets underway on May 23, has become a two-horse race as polls put moderate Islamist Abdel Moneim Abol Futouh and liberal-minded Amr Moussa neck and neck. While Islamist parties surprised many with the extent of their victory in the parliamentary elections, polls suggest that religion may play a less prominent role in winning the hearts and minds of Egyptian voters in the landmark presidential elections. Lily Grimes, Reuters