Millions of Egyptians will line up at polling stations on Wednesday and Thursday to vote in the first presidential elections since the fall of Hosni Mubarak, which some consider to be the first free presidential election in the country's long history.
On the first morning of the elections, Egyptians waited patiently in hours-long lines to cast their vote for one of 13 candidates. So far, the vote has gone smoothly and there were no reports of violence or fraud.
According to earlier polls, the presumed front-runners are still Amr Moussa and Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, although the election is being described as unpredictable and the vote is up for grabs.
I will vote today, no matter what, it is a historic thing to do, although I don't really know who I will vote for, Mahmoud Morsy, 23, told Reuters in Cairo.
The ascendancy of Fotouh, a former Muslim Brotherhood figurehead, and Moussa, a former foreign minister, to the top of the polls is characteristic of the current rift in Egyptian politics between Mubarak-era figures and Islamists (as well as between the revolutionaries, who favor neither). Islamist parties, like the Brotherhood, gained immense popularity during and after the revolution and dominate the democratically elected parliament, while former Mubarak officials, many of them liberalized, offer experience, stability and name recognition.
It took Egypt 15 months to arrive at Wednesday's elections, but it could be another month before the results are announced. If the vote is close, a run-off between the two leading candidates will take place on June 16-17, and the winner won't be announced until June 21.
Many Egyptians fear the results of this election won't matter as long as the military is still in power. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), led by Mubarak's former minister of defense, Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, took over Egypt after the revolution and despite issuing pledges to hand over power by July 1, the apparatus to do so has yet to be established.
We will have an elected president but the military is still here and the old regime is not dismantled, Ahmed Maher, an activist from the April 6 movement, told the AP.
But the pressure will continue. We won't sleep. People have finally woken up. Whoever the next president is, we won't leave him alone.
Yet, there is also a pro-military strain in Egypt, according to the Al Ahram daily, and those who think that the SCAF stabilizes the political troubled country will likely lean toward Ahmed Shafiq, a former Air Force commander who was the last prime minister appointed by Mubarak, because he will be able to control the country.
May God help the new president, Zaki Mohammed, a middle aged teacher from outside of Giza, told the Associated Press.
There will be 82 million pair of eyes watching him.