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No favorites in Egyptian vote, U.S. says

May 23, 2012 at 2:00 PM   |   Comments

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CAIRO, May 23 (UPI) -- The U.S. government looks forward to a good working relationship with whichever presidential candidate is chosen by the Egyptian people, a congressman said.

Egyptians flocked to the polls during the first day of voting in a presidential election, their first such election since the 2011 revolution ended the tenure of longtime President Hosni Mubarak.

Egyptian news service al-Ahram reports voting was extended Wednesday to accommodate the large number of voters who turned out to cast their ballots.

There are 12 candidates competing in the election and various media reports suggest there is no clear front-runner, indicating the vote would likely head to a second round.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, architect of a 1970s peace deal between Israel and Egypt, was joined by U.S. Rep. David Dreier, R-Calif., fellow members of Congress and delegates from the African Union as part of a mission to observe presidential elections in Egypt this week.

Dreier told CNN on the morning of the election Washington has no clear favorite among the candidates, which include former and current members of the Muslim Brotherhood and former ministers from the Mubarak era.

"We look forward to working with whoever is chosen by the people of Egypt," he said.

A constitutional decree defining the role of the post-revolutionary president in Egypt is relatively ambiguous, al-Ahram reports.

There were few reports of violence during the election Wednesday. A police officer was reportedly killed by a stray bullet before polling stations opened, the news service said.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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