Egyptian women wait to enter a school meant to serve as a polling station in Cairo, Egypt, on May 26, 2014. Egypt kicked off its two-day presidential election on Monday. (Xinhua/Pan Chaoyue)
CAIRO, May 26 (Xinhua) -- Egyptian voters started casting their ballots on Monday across the country in the first presidential elections following the ouster of former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi.
Ex-military chief Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, who led Morsi's overthrow, and leftist leader Hamdeen Sabahy are the only two contestants in the race, which Sisi is poised to win.
Polling stations opened at 9 a.m. local time (0600 GMT) to more than 53 million eligible voters, in nearly 11,000 polling centers across 27 provinces in Egypt, with the participation of more than 15,000 judges to supervise the electoral process.
Sisi enjoys overwhelming popularity since he removed Morsi last July after mass protests against his one-year rule. He is expected to make an easy victory over Sabahy, who finished third in the 2012 presidential election.
The former military chief garnered a staggering 94.5 percent of the votes cast by over 300,000 overseas Egyptians in 124 countries last week, according to the election commission.
"I voted for stability, security, which are crucial for economic recovery," said 47-year-old Mohamed Attiya, manager of a tourist company, who said he gave his vote to Sisi at the polling station inside Future Language School in western Cairo.
Gamila Munir, a 33-year-old engineer, said he voted for Sabahy.
"We need a civil country," Munir said. "We no longer need military ruling... the Egyptians demand freedom and Sisi will be the reproduction of the autocratic rule of long-time ruling former president Hosni Mubarak."
Polls will be supervised by monitors from the European Union, the African Union, the Arab League.
Sisi cast his vote at a polling station in Heliopolis, Cairo, and Sabahy in Mohandseen, Giza.
The balloting will end on Tuesday. Official results are expected on June 5.
More than 432,000 army and police personnel are deployed across Egypt to insure security amid fears of violence.
Egyptians hope the new president would help restore security and stability in the turmoil-stricken country that saw the ouster of two presidents in three years.