Polling stations opened on Wednesday for Egypt's first presidential elections, with President Hosni Mubarak expected to win a fifth six-year term as the leader of the Arab world's most populous nation.
At Nubar middle school in central Cairo, no one was waiting to vote when the station opened at 8 a.m, reports Reuters
"We are taking nothing for granted. We're taking this vote seriously," said Mohammed Kamal, a member of the president's campaign team.
The voter drive is just one of the political novelties that have blossomed in Egypt in the weeks before Wednesday's vote. The official 19-day campaign, which wound up Sunday, featured inventive barnstorming by opposition candidate Ayman Nour, a lawyer and leader of the small, free-market Tomorrow Party, who pressed the flesh on sweltering trains and in tent rallies and paraded on horseback through Cairo, the capital.
Another candidate, Noman Gomaa, from the opposition Wafd Party campaigned on the straightforward slogan "We've had it." The Muslim Brotherhood, a large Islamic-based organization that is officially banned from political activity, urged its followers to vote against "corrupt oppressors." Brotherhood leaders said that meant to vote for anyone but Mubarak, informs Washington Post.
After it turned out that Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov included the Fonbet betting company in the list of backbone enterprises that can count on state support, everyone started talking about these bookmakers.