Tens of millions of Egyptians will cast their votes on Wednesday and Thursday in the first round of the country's first ever democratic presidential elections. If no candidate receives 50 percent of the votes after the first round, a second round of voting will be held in mid-June.
The general expectation is that none of the candidates will receive the required 50% after round one. Eighty election supervisors from 35 countries will try to assure that the historic elections run smoothly.
Egyptian media reported Monday that after counting the votes from about 300,000 expatriates, mainly living in the Gulf states, Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Mursi was in the lead. Amr Moussa — former Arab League director-general and foreign minister under ousted President Hosni Mubarak, whom many expected to win the first round — was only in fourth place. As of last Monday all of the candidates were required to cease public campaigning and publishing election polls in the local media.
Meanwhile, the Menachem Begin Heritage Center on Monday published a poll to evaluate the Egyptian public's position regarding their country's peace treaty with Israel. The poll, which was conducted by the Maagar Mochot research institution in conjunction with a Palestinian polling company, showed that the vast majority of Egyptians — more than 85% — oppose any type of normalization with Israel and want to see a worsening of relations, even to levels of "hatred."
However, the survey also showed that 90% of Egyptians believe that peace is preferable to war, and that the peace treaty with Israel was the "right choice."