Middle East

Egypt presidential election to begin in May

Presidential hopeful Amr Moussa casts his vote in elections for the Shura Council (30 January 2012)
Image caption Several candidates, including Amr Moussa, have already started campaigning for the presidency

Egypt's first presidential election since an uprising forced Hosni Mubarak to resign will begin in May, the head of the electoral commission has said.

Farouk Sultan told reporters that the first round would be held over two days on 23 and 24 May, while a run-off would take place on 16 June and 17 June.

Final results are expected on 21 June.

The ruling military council, which assumed Mr Mubarak's powers last year, has said it will hand over power to a civilian administration afterwards.

On Saturday, the lower and upper houses of parliament will convene to select a 100-member panel to draft a new constitution. Only once it has been approved in a referendum can the presidential election be held.

However, Mr Sultan was sufficiently confident that the constitution would be written on time to announce that the presidential election commission would accept candidates' applications between 10 March and 8 April, and that the list of hopefuls would be published on 26 April.

Campaigning would run between 30 April and 29 May, four days before the first round, Mr Sultan told a news conference in Cairo.

He added that there would be no international monitoring of the poll.

The commission had been expected to confirm the dates on 19 February, but officials said there was a problem organising the expatriate vote.

Correspondents said the delay might have been caused by a behind-the-scenes battle over the timing of the return to civilian rule. The ruling generals have been under pressure to bring forward the election.

According to rules set by a referendum last year, the new president will serve for four years and be able to serve two consecutive terms.