Egypt historic election saw 62 pc turnout

Cairo: A historic 62 per cent of the Egyptian voters turned out to cast their ballot in the first round of the parliamentary election, a turnout described as the highest "since pharaonic times" by election authorities.

The Election Commission announced the final figure today for voting in a third of the country`s provinces, that was less than an earlier estimate of 70 per cent, yet highest in Egyptian history.

"This is the highest turnout in Egypt`s history since pharaonic times until now," Abdel Moez Ibrahim, the head of Egypt`s Elections High Commission, said.

The figure means over 13 million voters voted in two days of polling held on Monday and Tuesday in crucial cities of Cairo, Alexandria and others, the first of three rounds of polls for the lower house of the parliament.

Nine of the country`s 27 provinces went to polls in the first round. Three other rounds lasting until March will elect the less powerful upper house.

The elections are set to propel the Muslim Brotherhood`s political arm the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) as the biggest bloc in the parliament while the radical Salafists` Al-Nour party is also expected to make an impact, according to estimates by the parties and non-official sources.

The high turnout led to the announcement being delayed twice as election workers needed more time to count all the ballots, Al Jazeera quoted officials as saying. PTI