Egypt has produced some good headlines over the few millennia of its
existence: There's its rise as the center of Arab and Islamic culture,
the building of the pyramids, and even, reportedly, a spat between a
pharaoh and a hard-luck local tribe that produced some nasty plagues.
But there's one story that has always eluded it: the drama of a
competitive presidential election. On May 23, that all ended.
In a culmination of the revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak last year, Egyptians went to the polls to elect a new president. The path to this point hasn't been easy: Egypt has struggled through protests against the country's military rulers that devolved into violence, polarizing debates over the role of religion in politics, and even the resurgence of Mubarak's most feared domestic enforcer.
At 9 p.m. on May 24, the voting in Egypt's first competitive presidential election finished -- and the rampant speculation about who would come out on top began. Early vote tallies suggested that a pair of the most polarizing candidates -- the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi and Mubarak-era Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq -- had won the most votes. If these results hold, Morsi and Shafiq will head to a run-off election on June 16 and June 17. In this photo essay, acclaimed photojournalist Kate Brooks provides FP readers with an inside look at the voting and a behind-the-scenes look at the candidates.
Above, men wait to vote at a polling station.