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Clinton calls Egypt election 'historic'

25 may 2012, 12:51
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. ©AFP
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. ©AFP
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday congratulated Egypt on its "historic" presidential election, and said Washington was ready to work with a new government in Cairo, AFP reports.

"We look forward to working with Egypt's democratically elected government," Clinton said in a statement released by her spokeswoman, as vote counting continued in the Arab world's most populous nation.

"Today, the Egyptian people concluded a historic two days of voting in the first round of their presidential election, marking another important milestone in their transition to democracy," Clinton said.

"We will continue to stand with the Egyptian people as they work to seize the promise of last year's uprising and build a democracy that reflects their values and traditions, respects universal human rights, and meets their aspirations for dignity and a better life."

After decades of pre-determined results under Hosni Mubarak's rule, the outcome of the two-day vote was wide open, and could well force a second-round runoff vote between the two frontrunners next month.

Around 50 million voters were called to choose from 12 candidates, with the opinion poll frontrunners divided between Islamists, who say they will champion the uprising's goals, and Mubarak-era ministers.

Among the contenders is former foreign minister and Arab League chief Amr Mussa, seen as an experienced politician and diplomat. But like Ahmed Shafiq, Mubarak's last prime minister, he is accused of ties with the old regime.

The powerful Muslim Brotherhood's candidate, Mohammed Mursi, faces competition from Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh, a former member of the Islamist movement who portrays himself as a consensus choice.

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