Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood was leading in initial, partial results from the country's parliamentary elections. However, it was facing strong competition in many provinces both from more hard-line Islamic groups and from a liberal-secular alliance, the AP quoted sources as saying on Wednesday.
Counting is still continuing from the first round of voting, which took place on Monday and Tuesday. Initial results are not expected before Thursday evening.
The Brotherhood had the biggest share of votes in the capital Cairo and the country's second biggest city, Alexandria as well as the southern city of Luxor, Port Said and Kafr el-Sheikh, according to judges in each area. The Salafi Nour Party and an alliance of liberal-secular parties known as the Egyptian Bloc came next, the judges said. Between half and 80 percent of the votes had been counted in those areas, they added.
The elections for the 498-seat People's Assembly, the lower house of parliament, are taking place in three two-day stages, stretched out until January. In each round, part of the country votes. The areas that voted on Monday and Tuesday — nine of Egypt's 27 provinces — will determine about 30 percent of the seats.