Egyptians have begun voting in a two-day presidential election after three years of political turmoil which has seen hundreds killed in clashes.
Polling stations opened on Monday morning across the country for the 53 million registered voters.
Former army chief Abdel Fattah al Sisi is expected to win comfortably after he deposed the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi last July.
His only rival, left-wing politician Hamdeen Sabahi, finished third in the last presidential election in 2012.
The Egyptian military and police have been deployed heavily to safeguard polling stations across the country.
The presidential poll will be followed by parliamentary elections later this year.
Since Morsi was overthrown, police have cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhood and it has now been blacklisted as a terrorist group.
The crackdown has seen at least 1,400 people killed, including hundreds of pro-Morsi demonstrators who were killed in August 2013 when security forces demolished street camps in Cairo.
That followed the deposing of former president Hosni Mubarak, who was removed from power after a public revolt in 2011. He faces a retrial on charges of failing to prevent the deaths of 900 protesters during the Arab Spring uprising.
In a five-minute televised address on Sunday, interim president Adly Mansour urged Egyptians to vote.
He said: “Let us all come out tomorrow and the day after to express our free choice.
“Choosing, without being guided to or dictated to, the person we trust to have the ability to build and run the nation.”
He added that state institutions would not interfere in the presidential election.
26 May 2014 | 8:44 am – Source: orange.co.uk