Day one of polling has just closed in Egypt's presidential election, with another voting day tomorrow.
This race is the first chance for Egyptians to elect a new president since the stunning fall of Hosni Mubarak's regime more than a year ago. City streets boast billboards of the thirteen candidates. It's expected none of them will secure more than 50 percent of the vote in this round, which will trigger a run-off election in mid-June.
The long list of candidates is fairly wide-ranging in their views, but it's said there are really just four strong frontrunners. Two of them have ties to the former regime – Amr Moussa, former foreign minister & former head of the Arab League, and Ahmed Shafiq, former commander of the air force & briefly prime minister during last year's protests.
Then there are the leading candidates who rose from the long-established, Muslim Brotherhood – Mohammed Mursi and Abdul Moneim Aboul Fotouh. Even though Fotouh is labelled an Islamist, he is considered liberal and has built a broad coalition that includes secularists. Whoever wins faces a daunting term. From security to the economy to unity and diplomacy, Egyptians have been struggling since revolution shook their country. But the president won't even have a framework for his leadership. The efforts to write a constitution have faltered repeatedly. And there is still worry that the interim military leadership – the Supreme Council of Armed Forces – will not make the transition to civilian rule easy.
What type of leader does Egypt need at this juncture? What should be his top priorities in leading the country out of its struggle? When will a constitution be finalized? Who did Egyptian-Americans vote for?
Ms. Nile El-Wardani, works in public health and development here in Los Angeles, holds duel American and Egyptian citizenship
Osama Shabaik, local Egyptian-American with family on Cairo, hold a double bachelors in international studies and economics from UC Irvine
Dr. Maher Hathout, M.D. senior advisor, Muslim Public Affairs Council