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Turnout 'high' in Egypt election despite protests

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Turnout 'high' in Egypt election despite protests

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Egyptians have gone to the polls in large numbers for the first parliamentary elections since Hosni Mubarak’s downfall. Voting was extended for two hours because the turnout has been higher than expected.

But Egypt’s new test of democracy brings a bewildering array of candidates and far less unity than during January’s revolution.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party is expecting to play a dominant role in parliament. But many suspect it is in alliance with a military that wants to retain power itself.

“The elections are a diversion from the army. The revolutionaries’ demands are completely justified: first power must be transferred from the military council to civilians,” said Mahmud Hussein, a French writer of Egyptian origin.

Protesters calling for a boycott of the elections continued to occupy Cairo’s Tahrir Square into Monday evening.

The vote to choose a new lower house of parliament will take place in three stages with results expected by January 13.