Egyptians go to the polls on Wednesday to vote in their country's first ever contested presidential election.
Incumbent President Hosni Mubarak - who is almost certain to win a fifth term in office - says the poll will be free and fair.
However some opposition parties are boycotting the vote, saying the dominance of Mr Mubarak's National Democratic Party (NDP) will help him retain power.
Do you think these elections signal the beginning of democratic change in Egypt? Are you an Egyptian planning to vote in the election? What are the most important issues for you? Send us your comments and experiences.
The following comments reflect the balance of views received:
The Egyptian people are very privileged to have such a wise effective leader as Hosni Mubarak. I'd have him instead of Blair anyday.
Mike Carus, Birmingham, England
I guess Mubarak will win this time, because most people don't trust the other candidates. People want things to be settled and don't want anything to affect their way of living negatively.
Rashed, Dubai, UAE
In light of the pressures exerted on Mubarak from the US to "democratise" he and his party have put on a very well orchestrated charade to convince everyone that change is coming though very little has actually changed. It is a perfect set up to pass the rule on to Mubarak Junior under the pretext of 'democracy'. Add to that the false propaganda played over the years that it is either Mubarak or chaos and you have perfect setup for stagnation.
Ehab Nabil, Cairo, Egypt
The elections in Egypt are a bit of a sham, but a small step in the right direction.
Peter Reed, Dexter, ME, US
I am disgusted to see Mubarak's face in the streets or whenever i open a newspaper. The level of corruption in this country is shameful, companies take out full page adverts in support of Mubarak when our nation's people are out of work and starving. Everybody in Egypt knows he will win by a vast majority and nothing will have changed, anyone thinking otherwise is in another world. For 24 years to get anywhere in Egyptian society you have to donate a certain amount to Mubarak's party or show support or do something that just tightens his grip on the country. Mubarak will not let anyone take power from him until he hands over to his son Gamal on his death bed and in doing so will condemn our country to and even worse situation.
Tarek Soliman, Zamalek, Cairo
Hosni Mubarak did the best job he could and I hope he gets elected again, and what is wrong with Gamal Mubarak? I hope he runs as well and I hope he wins one day, there is nothing wrong with successful people to the country.
Ihab, TN, US
This is the first time another Egyptian will have chance other than Hosni Mubarak to become president. In this context it is a big change towards democracy. But I doubt whether Egypt is competent enough to accept the great system of democracy. Perhaps it will give a chance to radical mullahs who will lead this ancient country into a Taleban style state.
Edwin Zacharia, India
Give me a decent standard of living, I'll give you my vote. Simple as that! Change is the essence of life. I've started to doubt the word 'democracy' exists at all. We need to breathe fresh air, eat healthy food, be educated seriously and efficiently, work and be able to provide for our living proudly. Is that too much to ask for? I wonder...
Hala, Cairo, Egypt
I'm an Australian of Egyptian background and I personally see Mubarak as the leader to take Egypt for the next six years. First of all, we don't know the other candidates that much and Mubarak is the man that can keep Egypt stable and improve its economy. We'll wait and see but for the others, maybe in another six years you'll get your chance.
Mohamed, Melbourne, Australia
Although Mubarak is likely to win even in a free and fair election, the government and ruling party insist on rigging the elections with biased media, keeping the voters lists inconsistent and even arresting opposition figures.
Hatem Nawar, Giza, Egypt
I can't imagine that Egypt will be ruled by the same regime again. There are hundreds of qualified persons in Egypt of whom one deserves to be the next president.
Magda Hamid Hussein Taher, Khartoum, Sudan
Mubarak is a must. Despite the country's economy, which has fallen down, he is giving Egypt prestige in the world, especially in front of America.
Tarek, London, UK
This is not a question of one man to be elected. How can we hope for democracy if we have a president with unlimited power who heads the one party that controls all the institutions? The coming elections are in fact a lethal blow to any hope of democracy in Egypt as it will give a corrupt regime the legitimacy it lacked for nearly 53 years when any hope of democratic practice was ended by the July revolution.
Hatem Medhat, Cairo, Egypt
I think Mubarak is the best candidate for the presidency. His program is the most organized and most comprehensive, except his ignoring the widespread corruption. I'll vote for him on Wednesday.
Ismail El-Naggar, Cairo, Egypt
To all Egyptians, Go out and vote no matter what. Mubarak will be gone sooner or later but never give up your right to vote; the more people go to the polls the less likely the riggers will dare to bring their own cooked-up boxes to the poll stations. Go out and vote. Make change happen. Show the world that there is still pulse in you. Let democracy reign.
Ashraf, California, USA
The fact that Mubarak and his regime are being subject to criticism by opposition parties and highlighted in the media is in itself a change in the Egyptian political life. Mubarak's work has had positive and negative fruits. The former are shown in national security, infrastructure and fight against terrorism. Local challenges such as unemployment, corruption, Islamic extremism and freedom of expression are still challenges he and other candidates have to face. These elections are just a first step towards a more democratic and multi party political system in Egypt to come in the next years. As a Copt Egyptian, my main fear is the rise of movements like the Islamic Brotherhood which, if granted power would make the country live in the medieval centuries.
Rami Lotfy, Toronto, Canada
The elections in Egypt will be held alright but it will be fraud. Mubarak must leave for a new person to come with new ideas, but trust me he will win and the West will say nothing.
President Mubarak should have known by now that it is time for him to leave the stage. Ruling a country is not for only one person, more people should be allowed to have chance at power. A country does not belong to an individual. The Egyptian constitution should peg ruling to only two terms for a person like Nigeria, the US and many countries.
Adigun Olosun, Ostbevern, Germany (Nigerian)
We left our country because of the corruption, if our President Mubarak will be able to correct that, he will get the presidency, if not then we need another president. However, we do not need an Islamic group, which will worsen the conditions in our country.
I hope that the current president Mubarak will win the elections and Egypt stays secular. I don't want Egypt to become a second "Iran". Nobody does. The only future for Egypt for the moment is with Mubarak in power and if ever the Islamic groups take over Egypt, the land of the great Pyramids will fall and it won't ever get back up on its feet.
Robert, Montreal, Canada
Most of us believe that Mubarak is the only one that can rule Egypt, but in twenty-four years, we haven't seen much changes. I don't think it will be hard for someone else to get the same knowledge about the country that he has. We need to wake up and realise that others could be better for ruling.
Zamada, Niagara Falls, Canada
I think this democratic process will fail in the short term simply because it is not coming from Egyptian people but it is imposed on them by foreign powers to serve their short term objective of diverting attention away from what is going on in Iraq. However, in the long term Egyptian people won't settle with this lip serve and will go to the whole nine yards.
Abdi Gunnaa, Columbus, Ohio
It is a dream of every Egyptian for Egypt to turn into a democratic country, but I fear democracy is not at the end of the tunnel even if Mubarak goes. I do not see how far Egypt is from the rest of Arab world. However, let us hope for the best. Above all, let there be peace be in that country.
Liben W Filate, Takoma Park, MD, USA
Mr Mubarak, there is no development without a positive change. Don't be like most African leaders, who always want to be a naturalised citizen of the state house. Better quit when the ovation is loudest or end up be stampeded out of office.
Fidel Okaba Adie, Bekwarra, Nigeria
I think it is pretty clear with the banning of monitoring bodies that things really haven't changed in terms of democracy, or the lack thereof in Egypt. Mubarak, as far as the government and their external allies are concerned, will win forcibly or fairly.
Humzah, Toronto, Canada
The election in Egypt is just a mere formality. I am quite convinced that Mubarak is going to use his power to win again. The situation in most African countries are the same. Their presidents never go out of power. How can the Egyptian president come up again for election after 23 years or so of government? Is he indispensable? The truth is that he is there for the will of the Western world. Let him go down and allow others to come up with new ideas. I believe that after 23 years in power he has nothing again for the Egyptians.
I represent the youth of Egypt. I have lived in Egypt for 12 years yet I didn't see the effect of democracy taking place there. There is a saying that absolute power corrupts absolutely and I believe that this is what is happening in Egypt. Egypt under his rule has not flourished and therefore he must step down or be prepared to fight with dignity and not attempt to silence his opposition like he always has done.
Mohamed, New Zealand
Although it is clear that Mubarak will win the election, it would be irresponsible for Egyptians not too vote because that would signal that we don't really want change... even if these elections are more of a cover than anything else it is still a change that we must express a need for. Not participating only means that we once again accept the rules dictated by the NDP and will not do anything about it. Disregard the local results and press because the foreign media will report the turnout and give a general idea of what really happened. I believe that no-one else is currently capable of running a country and we need more viable political candidates...
Tamer, Egyptian, Canada
Egypt must change the constitution to stop anyone to rule for life. A president should limited to one or two terms maximum; then we will see real democracy
Democracy always has to start somewhere and this is the first step for Egypt and a courageous move by Mr Mubarak. It is a once in a life time opportunity for many Egyptians to have their voices heard. It won't be easy but now can be the time to rewrite the history Egyptian politics. Good luck to all the Egyptian people.
Garang Chut Deng, Australia
I will not go to vote myself, as I have never voted before because I am sure that the government will vote on behalf of me and for all who do not go to vote. My conditions to vote are: A new, modern constitution which distributes the power, limits to two terms for any candidates and international observation on the election.
I'm an Egyptian American living in the US. This is a sham election aimed at silencing demands from the West for more democracy and openness in Egypt. Another goal of this sham election is to give more exposure and legitimacy -ultimately- to Mubarak's son. Mubarak has failed -over 5 terms- to inject some life into the economy and to improve the lives of people in poverty and should not be give another term. Moreover, the campaigning of six weeks is not enough to generate a meaningful campaign for people running against him and is heavily stacked against them. Mubarak will win with a landslide because of his total control over state institutions. Egyptian have to take matters into their own hands by developing institutions to foster democracy and human rights and not wait for GW Bush to do the job.
Alaa, NY, USA
Egypt has long been torn by war and terrorism, whilst housing shortages were huge. Mubarak has made Egypt a viable country on the world stage and should be recognised for that. Corruption and a lack of democracy are now the big issues. I don't think Mubarak can cure these ills but in his final presidency, he can create the conditions for a free future. Egypt will become a democratic state at the next elections, not the current one. Mubarak will leave Egypt a more peaceful, prosperous and freer nation than he inherited.
Simon Johns, Cairo, Egypt
Yes, it is the beginning of democratic change in Egypt, I am Egyptian and I am planning to vote in the election because I need to be positive within my society. Although there are 10 candidates in this election, this is the first time for me to hear about nine of them, so I will vote for the candidate that I know. I hope the coming president will improve the education system, particularly the scientific research and universities.
Amro Dyab, Egypt
I am an Egyptian living in Malaysia, and all I can say about the upcoming elections is that, whatever the outcome is, keep our home safe from the hands of evil wrongdoers. Let's not let greed or hate get the better of us this time around. This might be the last chance for us to save our beautiful nation. So to all Egyptian out there, hope for the best.
Youssef, KL, Malaysia
I think democratic change in itself will be a long and slow process in the middle east in general. For now though, I will be happy to see Mr Mubarak elected again as he has kept the country stable. I will definitely be voting for him.
Maya Mohamed, Washington, DC
I am an Egyptian living in the USA and I feel this election is just a start. I do not expect it to go forward without mishaps and irregularities. It has to be taken into account that this is the first multi-candidate election in years. What relieves me the most is that it opened gates for new and fresh political dynamics. I hope all eligible voters go to the polls to add the voice of the people into the power equation in Egypt.
Hany Yacoub, USA
Well, I am an Egyptian but I will not be voting as it will be a waste of my time. We as Egyptians know that there is only one winner, not because of his popularity. We all would love to see a new face, especially as most of us were born and have grown up only experiencing the rule of the same party and same president. We still have a long way to go democracy.
Ahmed, London, UK
I agree with previous responders that in Middle East, any politician or a contender who does not support American Agenda for ME, is wasting their time running. However, I applaud and support those that do run in the face of such enormous challenge. After all, you start a marathon with a first step. I hope the Arab population as a whole get the guts to determine their own destiny instead of looking up to America, Britain and the West.
Mike, Chicago, USA
I challenge any of the voters to be able to clearly describe their candidate's agenda on issues that matter: education, health, economical reform, foreign policies, etc. It is hard for me to imagine what criteria we should use to select our next president when we do not know what they stand for. Democracy in its modern form is about succession of power and freedom of speech. Some may simply choose another president to attain partial democracy, but others may not change horses in the middle of the race. It will take time for democracy to really settle in. Egypt has a history of over 7,000 years. Things take time - a few centuries do not even appear on our time scale.
Amr Khorshed, Houston, USA
Mr Mubarak, please try and organise a free and fair elections in your country, because African leaders never like leaving power ever after tasting it. I pray you will be honest to yourself.
Achungu, Tiko, Cameroon
I find it really ironic to be that proud that we finally got the approval to hold a multi-candidate elections in the 21st century. This is the least to be done. However, I don't feel enthusiastic about voting in the coming elections; first because the NDP is dominating and second because I'm not convinced that the elections will be really fair and free. I'm positive Hosni Mubarak will be re-elected, so why bother and vote?
Tina, Cairo Egypt
Corruption is an undeniable aspect of perhaps every government in the world. But to see it conquer a whole nation and inspire only hopelessness and stagnation is difficult for me to stomach as an American. My own government is not without corruption itself, but freedom only has a future when the people are willing to overcome the tyranny of corruption. These elections mean nothing unless Egypt can find it in themselves to stand for freedom.
Thomas, Washington DC, USA
Even though the election results will almost certainly be to Mubarak's favour, I think there is a new political awareness in the country. People are suddenly interested in what they really want from their president and want to know more about the opposition parties, which were virtually unheard of here. This is a small but good step forward and at least will start making people get used to multi-candidate elections, political campaigns and programs.
Mohammed Abada, Cairo, Egypt
In its simplest forms, democracy is about the free choice of the people for those who would govern them. What freedom of choice is there in the Egyptian case when the law has been tailor-fitted to determine who could run, and ultimately win, to curb the "democratise or die" pressure from Washington? Be it political reforms, constitutional amendment, call it what you will. Truth is: It is the same old game, same old players, same old result. Welcome to the Middle East, where appearances matter the most!
Anonymous, Bonn, Germany
I believe the elections mark a new beginning. I don't think Mubarak needs to win, but I do not think any of the opposition party leaders are even worth running in the presidential elections. They have done nothing in the past years except criticise each and every effort of the current government without offering any alternatives. Real hope is in the coming elections, when parties realise the need to work hard to gain people's trust and the independent candidates have a chance of joining the game.
Yasser, Cairo, Egypt
The majority of Egyptians have no idea who they are voting for. Some are just voting for "anybody but Mubarak", believing that will benefit the country. The Islamic brotherhood? A horrible choice! It's almost the year 2006, we need to move forward. Nothing could be more irresponsible than voting for an "Islamic" candidate right now. I listened to a debate between some of the candidates...one guy wants the entire Egyptian male population to resort to wearing a "tarbouish", the red fez hat that was worn back during the Turkish occupation. Is this not reason enough to go with Mubarak? At least he can talk and deal with other nations around the world.
Hisham Ziadi, Centreville, Virginia
Funny how none of Mubarak's fans have written in to explain why they support him. Mubarak will win. The objective is to make sure that his successor is better and democratically elected.
Ezajur Rahman, Kuwait
The results are known before the first voter puts his card in the box. Mubarak is forever. The vast majority of Egyptians don't have voting cards and very few of them go to election centres. We don't expect a fair competition.
Ayman Zohry, Cairo, Egypt
The September 7th election is one small step but a giant leap for hope and democratic change. Hope springs eternal: Free and fair elections are a real springboard for better political representation, human rights, better education and particularly equitable women's rights. President Hosni Mubarak was steady at the helm and we should not pour cold water on his immense achievements.
Pancha Chandra, Brussels, Belgium.
Those who criticise the 24 years of leadership and those who believe that our lives have improved to nothing... I am afraid they lack political insight. When Mubarak took power we had had just come out of war, under the influence of terrorism which had disrupted our economy. We were also overpopulated and illiterate. Leaders cannot be leaders without the help of their own people. I think Mubarak has done us good, and of course he could have done better, but with someone like him, not fundamentalist or radicalist, there is a brighter tomorrow.
Robert George, London
First of all, I would like to say that this election is considered a joke for most of the Egyptian people.
Most are just hoping for a real change in the ruling system. Unemployment and poverty are the subjects that must be solved by the next president. It's a big joke, we all know here that President Mubarak will win it no doubt, they're just making the country lose more money by these campaigns. But most Egyptians believe that Mr Mubarak is the only one that can run this country, he's the only one who's able to make a change.
Ashraf Badr Mohamed, Giza, Egypt
If the media says Mubarak is going to win, it must be true! Regardless, having a less corrupt candidate win significant votes would be huge. Unfortunately Amr Mousa, Alexandria governor El-Mahgoub, or any other known political figures aren't running. It's a huge baby step.
Adel, Alexandria, Egypt
I think the upcoming elections are a good step forward. It does break the idea of the president holding the chair until he reaches his grave and reminds the Egyptian people that they can hold their government accountable. But will the government have the courage to hold free and fair elections and accept the results, whatever they are?
TE, Berkeley, USA
I don't think the upcoming elections in Egypt will make any difference as far as democracy is concerned for two reasons. One is that the opposition candidates didn't and won't have the opportunity that Mubarak has to campaign for their election. Most of the media (in particular, TV and radio) are owned and run by the government. The second problem is fairness; we never had a fair election on any level before and there is no reason or guarantee now that this one would be different.
Ashraf, Cairo, Egypt
The upcoming election in Egypt is noting but a farce; it does not in anyway signal the beginning of democratic change in Egypt. The incumbent, Hosni Mubarak, who is almost certain to win a fifth term in office should stand down and let new people with fresh ideas enter the political arena in Egypt. In short, Mr Mubarak's stepping aside will signal the real beginning of democratic change in Egypt.
Mohammed Mulat, San Jose, CA USA
Good to see Egypt slowly moving towards true democracy. The most important issue is definitely the economy and building a basis of a legal framework and corruption-free institutions. Also, I would like to see more economic interaction between Egypt and Israel in the future.
Sultan Koreishy, NY, USA
Good start, but I wouldn't vote, since the results are already written and only ready to be published.
If this "open" election is a sign of democratic change, then why is it that all over Egypt there are huge banners with Hosni Mubarak's face all over them and none with the faces of opposition leaders? I lived in Cairo from January to June and in my time there, I saw only Mubarak propaganda. I read stories about opposition leaders being jailed and opposition newspapers not being distributed to the general public. Even if these opposition leaders were truly allowed to step forward and these newspapers were published, I doubt anyone but Mubarak would win anyway. Egypt.
Ann, Madison, Wisconsin, United States
I am concerned that Egyptians like myself were not allowed to vote because almost all of us three million living abroad would not have voted for Mubarak. I am concerned about the amount of coverage Mubarak is getting compared to everybody else, this election is far from fair and I am sure there will br rigging otherwise Mubarak would not win. There should have been international observers and independent candidates should have been allowed to run because almost certainly Mubarak would have lost.
Ashraf Afifi, St Annes, Lancashire, England
In spite of all the negative aspects of this election, it is a step ahead towards Egyptian democracy, many steps in fact. A lot of taboos are being broken and we are moving into a new era of free speech. We might not see any tangible results now but I am looking forward to the 2011 elections.
Ahmed, Cairo, Egypt
Although the results of this election may be a forgone conclusion, I strongly believe that it is a big step in the right direction for democracy in Egypt. The building blocks have been laid for the future generations to reap the benefits. Democracy isn't built in a day or a week or a month, it takes years. I would also like to add that although all the candidates have claimed that they would abolish the emergency laws once they are elected, its interesting to consider that the US and UK are beginning to implement their own versions of the emergency laws themselves because that is the only effective way to clamp down on the terrorists.
An Egyptian, UAE
Although I believe the so-called elections will be unfair and may be faked, I am going to participate. I just think my participation will add another vote to those who are going to say "No, we don't want Mubarak to rule us for another six years!" Twenty-four years of totalitarianism is enough. I say anyone... will be much better than Mubarak.
Ahmed Gamal, Cairo, Egypt
This is mere acting... we know that Mubarak will win, and despite all that is being said about the fairness and integrity of these elections, in fact they are fake. The state is trying to "look beautiful" before the world, while it is actually extremely ugly. The Egyptian people are in dire need for the "re-exploration" of their true ideology and identity, not that imposed on them by the militants and Islamists who came after the 1952 Revolution. Till then we pray that God may save our country and bless it.
Joy Maher, Cairo, Egypt
I will vote for Ayman Nour, it's time to change, 24 years is more than enough. What else Mubarak can add, he's very greedy and he has to give chances to new leaders.
Gqmal Helmi, Alexandria, Egypt
I am an Egyptian living in the UK. I am sure that if I were in Egypt I would vote for Mubarak or abstain from voting all together. The opposing candidates are so weak that there is no other choice but Mubarak. The Egyptian public seems to follow the saying of 'better the devil you know'...
As an expatriate in Cairo for the past few years, there has been visible changes in Egypt and vague indications of a better tomorrow. However, a 'liberalised' electoral process does not prove anything if electoral promises for real and effective change are not put to action. Has the average Egyptian benefited substantially from the recent changes or is it just superficial? Democratic change must be done at an acceptable pace to the country's electorate - not too fast, not too slow, and definitely not influenced by external sources.
Vincent Wong, Cairo, Egypt
Enough of 24 years of dictatorship. For 24 years, we have seen our lives improve very little. A country with the resources of Egypt should have a much better economy. We want accountability. We want a voice in determining our future. Mubarak is not that voice.
Sherif Sadek, Egyptian, NYC
These elections are a sham. Mubarak's dictatorial regime, lacking legitimacy and in a crisis, is struggling to create legitimacy for itself through presidential elections and appearing democratic. The whole electoral process has been a farce from its inception and the regime has illegally manipulated the process to make it impossible for anyone but Mubarak to win. So of course I will not vote, as voting only helps the regime's legitimacy.
Mohamed Elwan, Cairo, Egypt
This election is little more than a comedy to please the Americans. But one must be responsible: Real and fair elections for the parliament would certainly bring an overwhelming majority for the Muslim Brotherhood by far the main political force in Egypt. So Mubarak is preferable.
Jean-Paul Dogeut, Paris, France
I wish the Egyptian people a fair and democratic vote, where the rightful party may come to power with the majority of the people backing them with due respect.
Esra Karatash Alpay, Istanbul, Turkey
I think it is such a good step that Mubarak has taken. I feel so happy to see the banners and billboards of other candidates in the streets, a scene that I've never seen in my entire life. Many people say that the whole election thing is a big hoax and some parties have already boycotted the election, but I call this narrow-mindedness. Those people have been given a chance never offered, they better use it rather than waste it. I believe that Mubarak is the best among all the candidates on the scene because none of them is famous or known by the people. I think if other influential figures ran for presidency they could change much.
Abdel Rahman Ismail, Giza, Egypt
I am from the neighbouring country of Sudan. I was happy to learn that Egypt is opening doors for democracy. Allowing multi-candidate elections is a good start and Egyptians and the world must work hard to see that it's free and fair. Mr. Mubarak's regime is not good for Africa and Sudan in particular and in my opinion, he should give others the chance of changing Egypt and North Africa for the better. I don't think the elections will be fair because African politics are not straight forward but influenced by power and money. All I can say is "good luck" to the Egyptian people.
Daniel Deng, Dallas and Denver, USA
In Egypt, under the rule of Mubarak, people are being denied of their basic democratic rights which we take for granted in the West. But the irony is that the forces who are against modernisation and secularism, like the Islamic Brotherhood stand to gain and tilt the balance in favour of the fundamentalists within the Egyptian society using the democratic system of voting. It is happening in Iraq and will happen also in Egypt. Thanks to the policies of the Americans in supporting the oppressive regimes in that part of the world, people automatically go after elements who oppose any concept which originates from the West. Dictatorship will be replaced by die-hard Islamic fundamentalism. It is a disappointing trend for the future of Egypt and the Middle East.
Srinivasan Toft, Denmark
Only three weeks for competitors to campaign, strict conditions for running, emergency law, thousands in prison without trial, biased administration and media, no international monitoring and prosecuting strong competitors... this is just a one man show directed by and starring the Mubarak family.
Anon, Cairo, Egypt
This election could be the beginning of democratic change in Egypt or any other Middle East country, only if people go to the polling stations to vote instead of grumbling, complaining or boycotting. Every vote cast counts, even if your candidate does not have a chance to win.
Mohamed Mursal, Dubai, UAE
Despite the fact that the outcome of the elections is almost certain with Mubarak winning, the presidential elections are proving to be a very important exercise, a sort of dry run, for the next elections in six years. The Egyptian people are getting used to this new and exciting chance to elect their president and there is no doubt that the process has proved to be of high entertainment value. I for one am optimistic.
Hanan Nayel, Cairo, Egypt
This time around, it is a cosmetic change, but we Egyptians need to understand that Mubarak cannot be overthrown and all these "democratic" changes will only truly kick in following his death. Egypt has never had an "ex" president...only former deceased presidents and there are many good reasons for that. People need to understand that this change is not meant for current times, but there is definitely an air of optimism. I'll vote in six years' time.
Mohamed Safi, Cairo, Egypt
It's a beginning, but the politics and the culture of the Middle East are not about individual thought or rights but about extreme religious life- models and it's about following the crowd in order to be safe. It won't be easy to resist the deeply entrenched manipulation of elections by the most ambitious and unfortunately, often the most ruthless. Egypt could have a worse leader than Mubarak, though he doesn't impress me very much. I hope for some progress in some countries in the middle east, eventually joining together for mutual progress. The people need a dependable way to vote to make things better and know their vote actually counts.
Mary Weaver, Windham, NH USA
I will vote. I believe the elections will be free and fair. If mishaps happen they will be individual acts. The candidates presenting themselves in this elections are not the optimal candidates. It's not the ruling party's mistake that strong competition did not rise to the occasion. Egyptians need to be less critical and start acting even when they don't get what they wanted. What should drive Egypt is not the government but the Egyptian citizen.
Soha Omar, Cairo, Egypt
Instead of 98% support he will end up with a 75%. It's not good enough I am afraid.
I am sick to death of the opposition's inane complaints and accusations. I hope they stop being sore losers and give the elections their best shot. I think Ayman Nour and his gang know how limited support for them is in Egypt and are hence accusing the regime of anything and everything just to get their name in the news.
Madjdy Al-Qaramany, Cairo
It is good thing to see that democracy is in the making in Egypt. This coming election is the right step in the right direction. It will open a different chapter in Egyptian history and Egyptians will be able to evaluate the pros and cones of this election. Democracy cannot be achieved overnight. A journey of 1,000 kilometres begins with one step. It will take time for things to get better and manifest itself. In every election, there is always one form of discrepancy or the other. The most important thing is that an attempt has been made and whatever lesson learnt in this coming election will help to determine the direction of future election.
Omorodion Osula, Boston, USA
I would rather say that these elections are just a passage for democracy. However, Egypt will not be able to cross this passage until the aging president steps down along with all of his aging regime members. Yes, I'm Egyptian and I will not vote simply because there isn't no right candidate I can vote for. The most important issues are just too many to state.
Mohamed Fouad, New York, USA
This election is a farce. Mr Mubarak has been ruling Egypt for the last 24 years, with an iron fist under the pretext of national security. Under pressure from his protector, the US, he introduced some reforms in a multi-candidate scheme. This a trick to show that he is a reformer, while in fact he is a typical corrupt dictator. He is running for another term to solidify his party grip on power and ensure the transfer of power to his son. For the last 24 years, Egyptians suffered high unemployment, poverty and government corruption. The reforms Mr Mubarak talk about now could have been implemented the first term of his rule. Enough is enough of the Mubarak rule, but because of his grip on power, he will be re-elected and no change will occur for Egypt. The same story all over the Middle East.
Abdallah, Chicago, US
The results of all the previous Egyptian elections have seen Mubarak attain a 99.9% majority vote. That's only 0.1% less than Saddam Hussein's last election results. With the rules and regulations surrounding who can setup a political party and what their ideology and to whom their allegiance must be (i.e. Mubarak) there will never be free elections, only more of the same showpieces. We can all pat ourselves on the back then and say how democratic our allies are, unlike those despots we overthrow in the name of democracy.
Ibrahim, London, England, UK
I think that enough is enough for Mr Mubarak and for the sake of Egypt's democracy. He's been in office for far too long and I have my doubts that the polls will be free and fair. For the opposition parties who are boycotting the vote, I say that the decision is a stupid one because this is the chance for the opposition parties to make Egyptian democracy a model for Middle East. If they boycott, the Egyptian people will be suffer a lack of choice on whom to vote for.
I find it amusing that all the these Egyptian political hopefuls bother campaigning, because in the end only a US friendly candidate will be allowed to win or failing that, Hosni Mubarak will be re-elected. A fine example of US democracy in the Middle East.
Naomi Fields, Cyprus, Greece