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Egyptians are voting for the second day in the country's first free presidential elections - 15 months after Hosni Mubarak was ousted.Queues are being reported at some polling stations, though turnout does not appear as high as on Wednesday. The election pits Islamists against secularists, and revolutionaries against Mubarak-era ministers. The military council which assumed presidential power in February 2011 has promised a fair vote and civilian rule. On Wednesday, there were large queues in many places, and voting passed off calmly for the most part.
However, protesters in Cairo threw shoes and stones at a convoy of candidate Ahmed Shafiq, who was Mr Mubarak's last prime minister. Yolande KnellBBC News, Egypt 6th October City - a new community on the outskirts of Cairo - is a mixed social group and voters' choices reflect that.
I find many who support the former air force commander and prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq and the previous Arab League head, Amr Moussa. Yet graffiti on the school wall and cars that pass covered in posters, suggest significant local support for the moderate Islamist, Abdul Moneim Aboul Fotouh. An hour's drive away, approaching the main roundabout in the village of Awsim, it is clear that voters here favour the main Islamist candidates. A large orange banner for Mr Aboul Fotouh competes for attention with a green one for the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, Mohammed Mursi. For the first time Egyptians have real choice, but who they will ultimately choose as their new president is still unclear.
Cairo voters excited by poll
Little hope in Alexandria
There were also reports that a group of female voters has been denied access to a polling station in the capital because they were wearing a full face veil. The US hailed the election, with State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland describing it as a "very important milestone" in Egypt's transition to democracy. Fifty million people are eligible to vote, and preliminary results are expected over the weekend. In all, 13 candidates are running. The frontrunners are:
Ahmed Shafiq, a former commander of the air force and briefly prime minister during February 2011 protests
Amr Moussa, who has served as foreign minister and head of the Arab League
Mohammed Mursi, who heads Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party
Abdul Moneim Aboul Fotouh, an independent Islamist candidate
Until a new constitution is approved it is unclear what powers the president will have, prompting fears of friction with a military which seems determined to retain its powerful position.'Thirty-year wait' Voting across the country resumed at 08:00 local time (06:00 GMT). The authorities have declared Thursday a holiday, partly to allow public sector employees time to cast their ballots. The BBC's Jon Leyne in Cairo says some Egyptians may have been waiting for a second day of voting to avoid crowds. On Wednesday, voting was extended by an hour to 21:00 to cater for queues at a number of polling stations. Egyptian voters talk about their hopes for landmark elections NGOs and rights groups monitoring the election reported some complaints. Egypt's National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) told the BBC they received 50 complaints on electoral violations ranging from delay in opening voting booths, to campaigning for candidates outside polling stations during voting.
There was a heavy police and military presence outside the 13,000 polling sub-stations, and BBC correspondents said the atmosphere was mostly calm, with people waiting patiently for their turn to vote. "It's a very big day," one woman told the BBC. "This is a real great moment for the Egyptians to change." Another, when asked how long she had been waiting to vote, replied, with a laugh: "Thirty years." Undecided voters Mr Mursi was originally the Muslim Brotherhood's reserve candidate, but he was thrust into the limelight after its first choice, Khairat al-Shater, was disqualified by the Higher Presidential Electoral Commission (HPEC) over an unresolved conviction. He told reporters: "Today the world is witnessing the birth of a new Egypt. I am proud and cherish my membership of this people. I assure them that tomorrow will be better than today and better than yesterday."
Counting will begin as soon as polls close, and some individual polling stations are expected to announce their results by Friday morning. The results will then be collated and announced in full on Tuesday. No clear picture is likely to emerge until then. A run-off vote is scheduled for 16 and 17 June if no candidate manages to get more that 50% of the votes. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf), worried about potential post-election unrest, has sought to reassure Egyptians that it will be the voters themselves who decide who will be the next president. The 15 months since Mr Mubarak was forced from power have been turbulent, with continued violent protests and a deteriorating economy.Foreign direct investment has reversed from $6.4bn (£4bn) flowing into the country in 2010 to $500m leaving it last year.