The online news portal of TV5
CAIRO -- Egyptians voted Sunday on the final day of a divisive presidential run-off between an Islamist and Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister, amid moves by the army to consolidate power ahead of the final results.
Former air force chief Ahmed Shafiq, who served as ex-president Mubarak's prime minister in the last days of the uprising that toppled him, is vying for the top job against Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Mursi.
The election comes against a backdrop of legal and political chaos, with the Muslim Brotherhood set on a confrontation path with the ruling military after it on Saturday ordered the Islamist-led parliament dissolved.
"Shafiq is the right man for this phase of the country," said Osman, 55, a government employee, queuing to vote in Cairo's Tahrir Square.
But standing next to him, Marwan Adel, a teacher, said the iconic square and cradle of last year's uprising would always be there to keep the pressure on the army.
"We are ready to restart the revolt," Adel said.
Small queues formed during the day outside polling stations across the country, which were protected by police and army units. Voting was later extended for two hours, until 2000 GMT. On the first day of voting on Saturday, polling was extended by an hour.
An electoral commission official said turnout at the weekend "appeared" to be lower than in the first round on May 23-24, but it was not clear whether some voters were waiting for the heat to give way to the relative cool of the evening before casting their ballots.
Official results are expected on June 21, but possible indications of trends could start coming in once polling stations close and vote counting begins.
The military's decision to dissolve the legislature throws Egypt's already tumultuous transition after Mubarak's ouster last year into further disarray with the new president expected to take office without a parliament or constitution.
The move followed a ruling by Egypt's top court that the Islamist-led parliament is invalid.
"The new president will head to the presidential palace amid a terrifying legal and constitutional vacuum," wrote political analyst Hassan Nafea in the independent daily Al-Masry Al-Youm.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces is to maintain legislative powers and control of the state budget in the absence of a parliament by means of an amendment to article 56 of the constitutional declaration, military sources told AFP.
The SCAF had in January handed legislative power to parliament.
The sources added that article 30 of the declaration will also be amended to say that the new president will be sworn in before the Supreme Constitutional Court instead of by the lower house of parliament.
Additionally, the SCAF will issue new rules under article 60 for the formation of the constituent assembly that is to draft the country's permanent constitution.
The new president will inherit a struggling economy, deteriorating security and the challenge of uniting a nation divided by the 18-day uprising that toppled Mubarak in February 2011.
The steps that have consolidated the power of the ruling SCAF have infuriated activists and boosted those who advocated a boycott of the vote.
Analysts point to the court's decision to annul the parliament, as well as overturn a law that had threatened to bar Shafiq from the presidential race, and a recent justice ministry decision granting the army the right to arrest civilians, as proof of the military's plans to cements its power.
The electoral race has polarised the nation, dividing those who fear a return to the old regime under Shafiq from others who want to keep religion out of politics and fear the Brotherhood would stifle personal freedoms.
"A Shafiq victory will not only guarantee the SCAF has one of its men in the highest position of executive power, it will also give it an influential role in building the other political institutions of the new regime," Nafea said.
The Brotherhood's political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, have rejected the dissolution of parliament, which they said confirms "the military council's desire to monopolise power."
"Dissolving the elected parliament must go to a fair referendum," the party insisted after the military said it consider the body dissolved.
The military says it does not want to stay in charge and has promised to hand power to the newly elected president by the end of the month.