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Egyptians stream to polls for final day of presidential election

Millions of Egyptians line the streets, eager to cast their ballots in a historic election.

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Voters line up at a polling booth in Maadi, a northern Cairo enclave, on May 24, 2012, the second and final day of Egypt's historic presidential election. (Kristin Deasy/GlobalPost)

CAIRO, Egypt -- Voters streamed to the polls today for the second and final day of Egypt’s highly-anticipated presidential election.

The vote, Egypt’s first in over half a millennia, follows the ousting of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak by popular protest last year, a historic event that brought the country's military to power. The ruling generals have promised a transition to civilian rule by July 1, according to the Associated Press

More from Global Post: As Egypt votes, excitement and long lines mark the day

Twenty-six-year-old business analyst Redwaa El Tabaa told GlobalPost today, "I am of course happy [to vote], but I just feel so much responsible [for Egypt's future]."

"I can't help but feel slightly worried for the prospects of the future, and how it's all going to turn out," she said at a polling station in the northern Cairo neighborhood of Maadi. "I'm also a little bit concerned about how all the political forces are going to interact in a democracy. This is something we're not exactly used to, and there are a lot of different streams, and different opinions, out there. It's going to be a little bit challenging."

El Tabaa, who voted for Amr Mussa, foreign minister under Mubarak and Arab League secretary-general, said her biggest fear is "the rise of Islamist extreme and Islamist political power." 

The two-day vote, which ends today, is widely seen as a contest between the top four candidates out of a total of 13.

Mussa is competing against Abdel Moneim Aboul-Fotouh, a moderate Islamist, as well as The Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi, and Ahmed Shafiq, a longtime member of the former regime who temporarily served as prime minister after Mubarak was ousted from power. 

But other candidates remain in play. A young male voter, one of the many who protested in Tahrir Square in demonstrations that overthrow Mubarak last year, told GlobalPost he was casting his vote for underdog Khalid Ali "because he is a revolutionary," while another young male voter, Mohamed Kamel Answer, said he voted for left-wing candidate Hamdeen Sabahi because the cadidate is "one of us." 

More from GlobalPost: SPECIAL REPORT: Egypt Votes

One of the most divisive candidates is Shafiq, who despite doing well in the polls faces especially heated opposition from activists who believe the country's protest movement has been compromised by Mubarak-era figures. The candidate was attacked with a volley of shoes and stones as he voted in Cairo on Wednesday, said The Wall Street Journal

The tightly-contested vote will not likely produce a clear winner, and if no candidate secures at least 50 percent of the vote, the top two candidates will face a June 16-17 runoff with a winner announced June 21, said AP

The president's powers remain unclear thanks to parliamentary in-fighting that has stalled work on a draft constitution. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/egypt/120523/egyptians-stream-polls-final-election-day