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Egypt army sees vote turnout exceeding 70 percent

CAIRO (Reuters) - A member of Egypt's ruling military council said on Tuesday that he expected turnout in the first stage of a parliamentary election to exceed 70 percent.

Egypt's first parliamentary poll since Hosni Mubarak was ousted began on Monday and the first round of voting is being held over two days. The staggered vote will be spread over six weeks.

"There is no actual or definitive estimate, but I assure you that, until now, it will go above 70 percent. I hope it will reach more than 80 percent by the end of the day," General Ismail Atman told Al Jazeera television.

"What we saw yesterday and today was something that exceeds what could be imagined and exceeds the whole world's expectations," he said.

Independent election monitors said there had been a high turnout and one official, representing a number of monitoring groups, said that it could easily rise above 50 percent.

A cabinet statement said the turnout in expatriate voting had reached "60 to 70 percent of the total registered voters according to results received from around 100 embassies."

An estimated eight million Egyptians work or study abroad.

(Reporting by Yasmine Saleh; Writing by Edmund Blair)

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