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U.S. Praises Egypt Vote As 'Quite Positive' So Far

An elderly man is carried by a volunteer after casting his vote at a polling station during parliamentary elections in Cairo on November 28.
Voting in parliamentary elections is continuing for a second day in Egypt in the first vote since longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak was ousted during mass protests in February.

The United States has welcomed the November 28 start of the elections in the cities of Cairo and Alexandria and other areas, saying voting appears to have been peaceful and enthusiastic.

The elections are being held after more than 40 people were reported killed during days of clashes earlier this month between security forces and pro-reform protesters demanding the end of rule by the military council that took over after Mubarak was toppled.

U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said early reports from independent U.S. monitors about the voting have been "quite positive." Toner said voters had been forced to line up outside polling stations in some areas but that the voting appeared to have been proceeding in an orderly fashion.

"What [U.S. election observers] have been able to see so far has been quite positive," Toner said. "There has been a high turnout. In some areas there were some lines, but it was to be expected. It has been entirely peaceful from what they've seen. So I think those two characterizations -- high turnout and no violence -- I think speak to the success of this first day [of voting]."

Up to 40 million Egyptians are eligible to cast ballots in the multi-stage election process for the two houses of parliament. The voting is scheduled to conclude in March, ahead of planned presidential elections. Reports say the Islamist group, the Muslim Brotherhood, is widely expected to win the most votes.

compiled from agency reports