Very low turnout was reported Sunday in the second day of Egypt's presidential runoff, with few voters going to the polls to choose Hosni Mubarak's successor under a cloud of apprehension and anticipation.
Turnout appeared dismal in a sign of just how polarizing and demoralizing the choice between a military strongman and conservative Islamist is for the Arab world's most populous nation, The Washington Post reported.
The military junta was expected to issue a constitutional decree within hours, according to the official Middle East News Agency, that would define the president's powers. It would be a move that revolutionaries and the once-repressed Muslim Brotherhood condemned as a sign the military rulers continue to dictate rather than manage the transition to what Egyptians had hoped would be democracy.
A win for either Ahmed Shafik - Mubarak's last prime minister -- or Mohamed Morsi, a U.S.-educated engineer who says he would turn Egypt into an Islamic democracy, will go far to define the outcome of the wave of Arab Spring uprisings last year.
We have to vote because these elections are historic, voter Amr Omar, who said he was a revolutionary youth activist, told Reuters. I will vote for Morsi ... Even if it means electing the hypocritical Islamists, we must break the vicious cycle of Mubarak's police state.
With no opinion polls, it was impossible to forecast who will emerge the winner by Monday - and whoever it is may face anger and accusations of foul play. Both men have wide support but many voters may be staying away, unhappy at a choice of extremes after centrist candidates were knocked out in a first round last month.