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Egypt Islamists claims lead halfway through count

world Updated: May 25, 2012 14:21 IST

AFP
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Egypt's powerful Muslim Brotherhood on Friday claimed the lead in the country's landmark presidential race after ballots from half the polling stations had been counted.

The Islamist group said its candidate, Mohammed Mursi, was leading with 30.8%, followed by Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister to serve under ousted president Hosni Mubarak, with 22.3%.

Pan-Arab leftist politician Hamdeen Sabbahi came in third with 20%, according to a tally by the Muslim Brotherhood, based on results from 6,661 polling stations out of 13,000.

Results from the country's official electoral body are expected on Sunday.

The experience of waiting for an electoral result that has not been predetermined is a novel one for citizens of the Arab world's most populous nation, where years of presidential votes always produced the same winner.

This time around, 50 million eligible voters were given the chance to choose between 12 candidates in a race that has been largely free of the violence and fraud that often marred elections before the January-February 2011 revolt.