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Egypt voter turnout 'higher than expected'

28 November 2011, 18:34

Cairo - The head of Egypt's election commission said on Monday that turnout in the first polls since the fall of autocrat Hosni Mubarak was higher than expected and there had been no security problems.

"We were surprised that people turned out to vote in large numbers, thank God," Abdel Moez Ibrahim, who heads the High Judicial Elections Commission, told reporters.

"It was higher than expected," he said, without providing any preliminary figures.

The run-up to the crucial polls was marred by deadly clashes between police and protesters demanding the ruling military cede power to a civilian authority.

But despite the violent countdown, Ibrahim said the voting -- overseen by a discreet police and army deployment -- went ahead without any security problem.

"There were no reports of security troubles... that's what I was most worried about," Ibrahim said.

Voting which was due to start at 08:00 got off to a slow start due to some administrative problems and delays.

Ibrahim said that judges overseeing the balloting in several polling stations had arrived up to three hours late and that ballot papers failed to reach some areas.

"We are working to fix all that," he said.

There were also fears that some unstamped ballot papers would be considered null and void, but Ibrahim said that the supervising judge could sign the ballots himself in order to validate them.



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