Egypt elections set for late May

The announcement comes days after army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi announced his bid for the top job

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The first round of Egypt’s presidential elections will be held between May 26-27, Egypt’s election committee announced on Sunday.

Candidates wishing to run for the top job can file their applications to the commission from March 31 to April 20, the committee said.

Last week, former defense minister and army chief Abdelfattah el-Sisi, who led the military-backed overthrow of former Islamist President Mohammad Mursi in July last year, announced his presidential bid, in a move expected by many Egyptians.

Reactions from political leaders and parties began pouring in shortly after Sisi resigned from defense minister.

Egypt’s Salafist party al-Nour and the anti-Muslim Brotherhood grassroots movement Tamarod expressed their support for Sisi.

The al-Nour party has been subjected to criticism by some Islamists for backing the army’s July 3 ouster of Mursi and the constitution drafted by a pro-military panel in January.

Meanwhile, Tamarod, a key movement behind collecting signatories calling for anti-Mursi protests on June 30, gave its full-fledged support to Sisi in a statement released on Wednesday.

“Our choice for a figure like the marshal [Sisi] is representative of a big section of the Egyptian people,” it said.

However, London-based Muslim Brotherhood leader Ibrahim Muni told Al Arabiya News last week that “there will be no stability or security if Sisi wins elections.”

Soon after Mursi’s ouster, the military-backed interim government quashed the Muslim Brotherhood movement, arresting many of its members and senior members.

Leftist presidential hopeful Hamdeen Sabahi, who said he won’t be seeking Islamist votes, welcomed Sisi’s candidacy in a tweet.

“I welcome Sisi’s candidacy, and we seek … democratic elections that [are] transparent and guarantee neutrality of the state and the will of the people to choose their president freely.”

Sabahi, one of the prominent leaders of the National Salvation Front, was among the politicians involved in the toppling of Mursi.

The spokesman for Sabahi’s campaign, Masoum Marzouk, urged for “equal” opportunity to be given to the leftist leader in a television address to Egyptians on Wednesday night.

The liberal party, formerly headed by the Nobel laureate Mohammad ElBaradei, said “Sisi has the right to enter the race as civilian citizen after resigning from his military position.”

But the party, now led by Hala Shukrallah, said all candidates must have an equal opportunity.

“We demand him [Sisi] to be like other candidates not backed by the country’s institution.”

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