Egyptians are due to hear the first results of their historic elections on Saturday, but already an Islamist alliance looks like it is in the lead.
In a possible sign of a future showdown with the country’s military rulers, the Muslim Brotherhood says it expects to win 40 percent of the vote.
As protests against military rule continue, the Islamist alliance is hoping to form a coalition strong enough to limit the power of the generals.
But one man in Tahrir Square said: “The Muslim Brotherhood is being used to support the existence of the Military Council. They won the first phase of the election; in the future they will be in prison.”
This weekend’s results are for the first round of the ballot, which is being spread out over six weeks, with much debate about the mix of religion and politics.
Another voter said: “The Islamist party has entered the election very strongly, but we want them to implement the agenda presented during their campaigning, without any changes or a more fundamentalist approach that might have been hidden.”
The ruling military council is under increasing pressure to step aside and allow complete civilian rule. But it is insisting that it must retain the power to dismiss and appoint governments.