Islamist parties are leading so far in initial, partial results from Egypt's parliamentary elections, according to the Egyptian judges charged with overseeing the counting, some of whom spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

The judges said that the Freedom and Justice (FJP) party, the political arm of Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest and best-organised Islamist political party, was recording the biggest share of votes so far. This was based on partial counts in the cities of Alexandria, Luxor, Port Said, Fayoum and Kafr el-Sheik, where between 30 and 70 per cent of votes are already counted.

The FJP was said to be followed by Nour, the largest party from the ultra-conservative Salafi Islamic movement, which in turn was followed by an alliance of liberal-secular parties. The judges said that it was too early to observe a definite trend in Cairo.

Until now voting, which began on 28 November and will continue over six weeks, has been characterised by high turnout rates and relatively peaceful conditions. For many Egyptians it was their first time to participate in democratic elections, and in some voting stations, all of which are guarded by police, men and woman were segregated in separate queues.

Meanwhile there are reports of 79 people being injured in clashes between protesters and street vendors in Cairo