Today's presidential election is the first time Egyptians have been able to pick an alternative to their leader, Hosni Mubarak, but few expect to see change, writes David Fickling.
Mamduh Shawqi sees the whole process as a play: "The candidates are hilarious people, which makes you think they were probably all chosen by the current system to play the role of candidates," he writes.
The disillusion of many bloggers sits side-by-side with a weary excitement at the remote possibility of change. Ritzy Mabrouk delivers a potent picture of Cairo holding its breath as election day dawns, but concludes the election is a Ãdirty messÃ. Others see more potential in the contest.
By all accounts, the Egyptian elections were flawed in many ways. However, the very fact that they happened, and that Mubarak felt that he had to have them, is immensely significant.
Time will tell how much of an effect this will have. I believe that it will be very hard to stop the progress that is happening in Egypt and elsewhere, and that democracy will come to the wider middle east. It won't be instant, and there will be numerous false steps, but the desire for self-determination is strong in all people, and once they get a taste they tend to want more.