Cairo: Vote counting is underway in Egypt after two days of polling in a landmark presidential election which pitted stability against the ideals of the uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak's rule.

Read More: Egypt elections,an important milestone

The experience of waiting for an electoral result that has not been predetermined is a novel one for citizens of the Arab world's most populous nation, where years of presidential votes always produced the same winner.

This time around, 50 million eligible voters were given the chance to choose between 12 candidates in a race that has been largely free of the violence and fraud that often marred elections before the January-February 2011 revolt.

Just hours after polling stations closed at 9.00 pm local time (0030 IST), the powerful Muslim Brotherhood – using their formidable nationwide network to tally votes predicted a win for their candidate, Mohammed Mursi.

"I am confident that as first indications show, our candidate is leading," Essam al-Erian, vice chairman of the Islamist group's Freedom and Justice Party, told reporters, based on results from 236 out of 13,000 polling stations.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on congratulated Egypt on its "historic" presidential election, and said Washington was ready to work with a new government in Cairo.

"We will continue to stand with the Egyptian people as they work to seize the promise of last year's uprising and build a democracy that reflects their values and traditions, respects universal human rights, and meets their aspirations for dignity and a better life," Clinton said in a statement.

Electoral commission officials said turnout was around 50 per cent over the two days of voting on Wednesday and yesterday, with some voters queuing for hours to cast their ballot.

In schools and other institutions around the country, representatives from Egypt's electoral commission carefully sorted the ballots, each printed with the name, photograph and electoral symbol of the candidates, into neat piles.

Results from the polling stations across the country were expected to trickle out today, but official tallies are not scheduled to be announced until May 27.

(Agencies )

Latest News from World News Desk