As it happened: Egypt presidential election

Key points

  • Egyptians are voting in the first free presidential election in their country's history, 15 months after president Hosni Mubarak was ousted.
  • BBC correspondents say the atmosphere has been calm but election monitors have reported a few irregularities.
  • Polling times extended by one hour until 21:00 (19:00 GMT).
  • Thirteen candidates including Islamists, leftists and former government ministers.
  • Counting due to finish on Saturday with results expected on 29 May.
  • A run-off will be held on 16 and 17 June if no-one wins 50% of the vote.

Live text


  • David Gritten 
  • Jastinder Khera 

Last updated 23 May 2012


Welcome to the BBC's live page for the first day of voting in Egypt's historic presidential elections. Polls opened at 08:00 (0600 GMT), and long queues have already been reported in many areas. Come back to this page for live updates throughout the day.


Fifteen months after the uprising which overthrew President Hosni Mubarak, Egyptians are voting over the next two days to elect a new leader - the first time they have freely done so in the country's history. Thirteen people are on the ballot paper - the four men generally regarded as the front-runners are all either Islamists or former ministers under Mr Mubarak.


The secular activists who led the uprising have not produced a candidate charismatic or organised enough to grab the imagination of the Egyptian people.


Jeremy Bowen, BBC Middle East editor

Egypt - and its next president - face huge challenges. He will have to find a way to make people feel safe again. Egypt needs a reformed police service to deal with the rash of crime that followed the collapse of the old regime's brutal and corrupt force. The economy cannot satisfy the needs of a growing and young population. And there's a potential clash waiting to happen with the army, which seems determined to retain its position as the power behind the president's chair.


Jeremy Bowen, BBC Middle East editor

The electorate does not know what powers the new president will have to do his job, as they are still waiting for them to be spelled out in a new constitution. But on the streets of Cairo the most common demand is for a leader who can end the chaos, confusion and uncertainty that have affected Egypt since Mr Mubarak was ousted last February.


Columnist Mona Eltahawy

tweets: Dear Egypt: I miss you; I'll be back Thursday for 2nd day of vote. Fellow Egyptians: whether voting or not, good luck today. #EgyPresElection


Sarah Elmeshad

tweets: #EgyPresElection it's like eid morning here after a 60 year fast


Lyse Doucet, BBC News, Cairo

Rosalind Carter, the wife of former US President Jimmy Carter, came out of polling station in the capital and told me: "I don't see any problems. The sun is rising in Egypt." I asked her how it compared to the many other elections she had seen around the world. She replied: "It's a good day... Egyptians are just happy to be voting."

Rosalind Carter in Cairo


There are reports that judges arrived late at some polling stations to oversee the voting, and that some of the candidate's representatives were refused entry to polling stations because they did not have the required paperwork from the Higher Presidential Elections Commission (HPEC).


According to our profiles of the 13 candidates for the presidency, the front-runners are: Ahmed Shafiq, a former commander of the air force and briefly prime minister during and after the uprising; Amr Moussa, who has served as foreign minister and head of the Arab League; Mohammed Mursi, who heads the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP); and Abdul Moneim Aboul Fotouh, an independent Islamist.