Egypt in first post-Mubarak presidential poll

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Egypt in first post-Mubarak presidential poll

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Egypt holds its first really democratic presidential election on Wednesday and Thursday, and the contest is wide open.

There are 12 candidates in all. Main contenders include former Arab League chief Amr Moussa and Mohamed Mursi from the Muslim Brotherhood.

But in one desperately poor area of Cairo, nicknamed ‘Garbage City’, Coptic Christians fear their community will suffer if a hardline Islamist is elected.

That is why many of them will be backing the secular Ahmed Shafiq who was prime minister in the dying days of ousted Hosni Mubarak’s regime. They believe only Shafiq can give them security.

In Alexandria, the demands among fishermen are simple.

“I need the next president to take care of the people and to meet their basic needs, something that isn’t happening now,” said one.

“We need a decent pension. It should be increased to a liveable level. We want cheaper food. These excessive prices are driving us mad. We can’t survive,” added another.

Assuming no one picks up more than 50 per cent of the ballot, the two candidates with the most votes will go through to a run-off in June.