CAIRO -- Egyptians on Saturday voted to choose between a conservative Islamist and Hosni Mubarak's ex-prime minister in a presidential runoff once billed as the country's long-awaited shift to democracy but now clouded by pessimism over the future.

Whoever wins after two days of voting, Egypt's military rulers will remain ultimately at the helm, a sign of how Egypt's revolution has gone astray 16 months after millions forced the authoritarian Mubarak to step down in the name of freedom.

"We are forced to make this choice. We hate them both," said Sayed Zeinhom, in Cairo's Boulak el-Dakrour, a maze of dirt alleys and shoddily built houses. Mahmoud el-Fiqi, waiting with him at a polling center, said, "Egypt is confused."

The race between Ahmed Shafiq, a career air force officer like Mubarak, and the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Morsi, a U.S.-trained engineer, has deeply divided the country after the uprising that ousted Mubarak after 29 years in office, and left many disillusioned about the elections' legitimacy.

Many voters felt the choice no longer even mattered after a court ruling last week effectively ensured that the generals who have ruled since Mubarak's ouster will continue to be in power.

"This election is essentially for the selection of a new dictator," said Ziad el-Oleimi, an iconic figure of the anti-Mubarak revolt in which nearly 900 protesters were killed.-- AP

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