The polls open Wednesday for Egypt’s first real democratic presidential election. The campaign last week featured the Arab world’s first real presidential debate. There are five front runners, including candidates from Islamist and secular groups, as well as those representing former Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarek’s old guard.
“The front runners nicely capture a wide stretch of the spectrum, while leaving out the extremes,” said journalist Thanassis Cambanis.
“Voter interest is high,” Cambanis said. “And the military rulers seem unlikely to allow major fraud based on their record in the parliamentary elections.
But Cambanis warns that a fair presidential election does not necessarily mean a fully democratic Egypt.
None of the candidates is expected to win more than 50 percent of the vote, setting off a runoff election on June 16 and 17.
- Thanassis Cambanis, journalist and author of “A Privileged to Die: Inside Hezbollah’s Legions and Their Endless War Against Israel”