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Egyptians Vote In End Of First Stage

boy looks up at his mother reading her ballot paper before casting her vote during a third round of voting in parliamentary elections in Toukh, El-Kalubia governorate.
Egyptians go to the polls for a second day today in the final stage of the election for the lower house of parliament.

Voting is taking place in nine provinces with some 15 million voters -- including regions of the south, which has the largest proportions of Christian voters.

The Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party has led after two of the three rounds of voting so far.

The Muslim Brotherhood said on January 3 that it would not use its success at the polls to impose its will on the drafting of a new constitution and would work with all rival political groups on the blueprint.

The staggered lower house election concludes with a run-off vote on Jan. 10 and 11.

The run-up to the latest voting was marked with a spike in bloodshed, with 17 people killed in December in violence between security forces and protesters demanding the country's interim military rulers step down right away.

Last week, Egyptian security forces raided nongovernmental pro-democracy and rights groups in an operation that was condemned by Western countries.

compiled from agency reports