CAIRO- The Muslim Brotherhood said on Friday its candidate was leading the early count in Egypt's first free presidential election that exposed a rift in the nation between supporters of Islamists and backers of men who served deposed autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
The Brotherhood said Mohamed Mursi was ahead based on a small sample of results shortly after voting ended in an election that marks the final step in a messy and often bloody transition to democracy, overseen by a military council.
The overall result will not be clear for some time. But the well-organized Brotherhood had been expected to do well.
Egyptian television showed live footage of a methodical counting process from polling stations around the nation of 82 million, with judges watching. Such scenes were unthinkable under Mubarak, when votes were chaotic and rigged.