Muslim Brotherhood claims early lead as Egyptian polls close

  • Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has said their candidate had an early lead over fellow Islamists and rivals who served under ousted President Hosni Mubarak as counting begun at some polling stations.

    Millions of Egyptians cast their ballots in the country's first free presidential elections on Wednesday and Thursday.

    Counting started after polls closed at 9pm GMT with no reliable exit polls available.

    The Brotherhood announced on its television channel that candidate Mohamed Mursi was in the lead in some districts.

    The influential Islamist group is expected to do well.

    After 60 years under military-backed rule, 50 million eligible voters were deciding whether to choose an Islamist president to lead them for the next four years, alongside the Islamist-led parliament they elected towards the end of last year.

    If an outright winner is failed to be declared with more than half the votes, the top two candidates will contest a June 16 and 17 run-off.