Egyptians take to polls in landmark presidential election

It is being billed as the first exercise in true democracy since civilization sprang up in the Nile Valley 5,000 years ago. Egyptians are lining up outside polling stations as 50 million eligible voters cast ballots to choose the country’s first president since Hosni Mubarak was deposed in the face of revolution 15 months ago.

“We have been ruled by pharaohs, sultans and kings, but this is the first time we have elected one of our own to lead us,” one Cairo woman told the CBC as she waited to cast her ballot. “This is amazing.”

As Al Jazeera reports, none of the 13 approved presidential candidates are expected to win on the first ballot. Two run off votes are slated for June. From the BBC, here are the frontrunners:

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

A military council has ruled Egypt since February 2011. Its leaders have promised fair elections and a total transition of authority following the swearing in of the new president July 1.