Egypt is voting for a second day in its historic presidential election, the first such free vote in the country's history.

The vote - held 15 months after the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak - were held in a relatively calm atmosphere on Wednesday, with queues reported at many polling stations.

Turnout appears to be lower on Thursday, according to reports, but more queuing has been reported.

The military council, which took over in the wake of Egypt's 2011 revolution, had promised to hold a fair vote.

In all 13 candidates are standing for election, with most votes said to be going for either Islamist candidates including the Muslim Brotherhood or former figures from the Mubarak regime.

More than 50m people are eligible to vote in the polls, and results are not said to be expected until the weekend.

Egypt still doesn't have a constitution, prompting fears that the new leader may grapple with the powers of the military. Despite this, optimism was apparent as millions reportedly turned out to vote.

"It's a moment when you believe that we are turning a page," human rights activist Gassar Abdel-Razek told the Guardian.

shafiq

Above: Egyptian presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq surrounded by protesters and supporters


The main candidates in the election are:

  • Amr Moussa: Formerly the Arab League secretary general and Egypt's foreign minister, Moussa is the main secular candidate in the election. Despite his links to the old regime he has attempted to distance himself from Hosni Mubarak.
  • Ahmed Shafiq: Before briefly serving as Egypt's last prime minister, at the end of Mubarak's regime in March 2011, Shafiq had always been seen as an opposition voice inside the government. He was the minister of civil aviation for nine years.
  • Husam Khayrallah: Democratic Peace Party candidate, a former military official and a face of the old regime
  • Abdallah al-Ashal: A professor at the American University in Cairo, and Mubarak's former Assistant Foreign Minister
  • Abdul Moneim Aboul Fotouh: A moderate former-Muslim Brotherhood candidate, who was suspended from the group after announcing his campaign, he has pledged to increase the country's education and scientific endeavours, and promote investment. He has won support from hardline Islamists and moderates who say he could defuse the country's religious conflict.
  • Mohammad Mursi: As the leader of the Freedom and Justice Party, part of the Muslim Brotherhood, he has said his rule would be based on Islam but would not be a theocracy.
  • Muhammad Salim al-Awwa: Islamit candidate who says his campaign is founded on combatting poverty
  • Hamdin Sabbahi: Nationalist founder of the Al-Karamah Party who uses strong anti-Israeli rhetoric in his speeches.
  • Khalid Ali: The youngest candidate, a left-wing activist and lawyer and a hero for many of Egypt's young people.

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  • Egyptian Elections 2012

    Egyptian men talk as they wait to vote outside a polling station in Cairo on May 23, 2012, as polls opened in the country's historic presidential election, the first since a popular uprising toppled Hosni Mubarak.

  • Egyptian Elections 2012

    Egyptian men wait to vote outside a polling station in Cairo on May 23, 2012, as polls opened in the country's historic presidential election, the first since a popular uprising toppled Hosni Mubarak.

  • Egyptian Elections 2012

    Egyptians walk in front of an army vehicle , in Cairo on May 22, 2012, one day before the country's landmark presidential elections. A buzz of excitement swept through Cairo, a day before its first presidential election since an uprising overthrew Hosni Mubarak, ushering in a tumultuous military-led transition.

  • Egyptian Elections 2012

    A man puts the finishing touches on graffiti picturing the morphed faces of Egyptian ousted president Hosni Mubarak (R) and military ruler Hussein Tantawi and presidential candidates Amr Mussa (C) and Ahmed Shafiq (L), near Cairo's central Tahrir square on May 22, 2012, one day before round one of the country's landmark presidential elections. The Arabic writing reads, 'I will never give you peace and you will not rule me for another day.'

  • Egyptian Elections 2012

    An Egyptian policeman checks electoral lists outside a polling station in Cairo on May 23, 2012, as polls opened in the country's historic presidential election, the first since a popular uprising toppled Hosni Mubarak.

  • Egyptian Elections 2012

    Egyptian men line-up outside a polling station in Cairo on May 23, 2012, as polls opened in the country's historic presidential election, the first since a popular uprising toppled Hosni Mubarak.

  • Egyptian Elections 2012

    Egyptian men scramble to enter a polling station in Cairo on May 23, 2012, as polls opened in the country's historic presidential election, the first since a popular uprising toppled Hosni Mubarak.

  • Egyptian Elections 2012

    Egyptian wait in line to vote at e a polling station in Cairo on May 23, 2012, as polls opened in the country's historic presidential elections.

  • Egyptian Elections 2012

    Egyptian voters search for their names on voters lists outside a polling station in Cairo on May 23, 2012, as polls opened in the country's historic presidential elections.

  • Egyptian Elections 2012

    An Egyptian policeman carries electoral booths into a polling station in the Coptic neighbourhood of Manshiyet Nasser in Cairo on May 22, 2012. A buzz of excitement swept through the Egyptian capital on the day before its first presidential election since an uprising overthrew Hosni Mubarak and ushered in a tumultuous military-led transition.

  • Egyptian Elections 2012

    Egyptian workers carry bundles of waste paper past Egyptian policemen sitting on a van loaded with empty ballot boxes outside a polling station in the Coptic neighbourhood of Manshiyet Nasser in Cairo on May 22, 2012. A buzz of excitement swept through the Egyptian capital on the a day before its first presidential election since an uprising overthrew Hosni Mubarak and ushered in a tumultuous military-led transition.

  • Egyptian Elections 2012

    An Egyptian policeman stacks notice boards and empty ballot boxes at a polling station in the Coptic neighbourhood of Manshiyet Nasser in Cairo on May 22, 2012. A buzz of excitement swept through the Egyptian capital on the day before its first presidential election since an uprising overthrew Hosni Mubarak and ushered in a tumultuous military-led transition.

  • Egyptian Elections 2012

    Egyptian policemen unload notice boards and empty ballot boxes from a vehicle outside a polling station in the Coptic neighbourhood of Manshiyet Nasser in Cairo on May 22, 2012. A buzz of excitement swept through the Egyptian capital on May 22, a day before its first presidential election since an uprising overthrew Hosni Mubarak and ushered in a tumultuous military-led transition.

  • Egyptian Elections 2012

    An Egyptian soldier carries a cardboard box containing voting ballots in the capital Cairo on May 22, 2012, a day before the first presidential election since an uprising overthrew Hosni Mubarak. Around 50 million eligible voters are being called to choose Mubarak's successor on May 23 and May 24 with a run-off scheduled for next month should there be no outright winner.