Egyptians set to give Islamists biggest bloc in vote

CAIRO - Egyptians voting on Thursday said they felt empowered by the first free election after Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule, a poll likely to give Islamists the upper hand in a parliament that will help shape Egypt's new constitution.
Islamist-led party lists secured about two-thirds of votes in the first round of the election. However, the Islamists are a broad and divided camp, which analysts say gives liberals a chance to make their voices heard in the new assembly.
As in the first round, voting was mainly peaceful, but independent monitoring groups have reported irregularities such as campaigning outside polling stations. The army, which is guarding polling stations, promised to confront such practices.
Regions voting in the second round include Giza, a part of Cairo; the eastern cities of Ismailiya and Suez; Aswan and Sohag to the south; and Nile Delta regions in the north.  Official results are expected on Saturday or Sunday, but parties are likely to estimate their performance before that.
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