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December 01, 2011

Egypt Announces Record-High Voter Turnout

Egyptian election officials say a record number of voters turned out to cast ballots this week in the first stage of the country's post-revolution parliamentary elections.

The election commissioner, Abdel-Mooaez Ibrahim, said Friday that turnout from Monday and Tuesday's balloting in one-third of the country's provinces was 62 percent. He said more than 8 million Egyptian's cast ballots.

Although the election chief announced the outcome of some indvidiual races for seats in parliament's lower house, he did not reveal party results. He said was "out of gas" (exhausted) and urged reporters to go through the election results on their own. He then abruptly ended his news conference.

Earlier, analysts predicted the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party and the more conservative al-Nour Salafi Islamist groups would have strong showings.

Officials had twice delayed their announcement of election results, saying they needed more time to count ballots.

The French news agency says under the country's election system, voters were required to cast three votes, two for individual candidates and one for a party.

Voters in the remaining provinces will cast ballots in two stages that will take place in the coming weeks. Egyptians then vote for the upper house. The process will not be over until March.

Earlier Friday, protesters moved back into Cairo's Tahrir Square to again call for an end to military rule.  Some carried mock coffins during a symbolic funeral for demonstrators killed during earlier protests.

At least 42 people were killed and more than 3,000 injured in clashes between protesters and security forces in the lead-up to the polling.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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