Egypt to hold presidential vote a month early


Al-Ahly soccer fans take part in a protest against the ruling Military Council and the Ministry of Interior in front of the general prosecutor's office in Cairo on Wednesday. (MOHAMED ABD EL GHANY/REUTERS)
February 15, 2012

Egypt’s interim military leaders intend to hold a presidential election in May, a month ahead of schedule, state media reported Wednesday.

The announcement comes amid growing pressure from activists and the country’s newly elected lawmakers for an immediate transition to civilian rule. Some members of parliament have hinted that they could force a no-confidence vote to oust the military-appointed cabinet.

Mohammed Attiya, the minister for parliamentary affairs and local development, was quoted on the state-run al-Ahram newspaper’s Web site as saying that the vote will be held sometime in late May. The military council last year agreed in the face of sustained street protests to hold the election by the end of June.

The Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group whose political party controls the most seats in parliament, has been pressing the country’s ruling generals to set an election date. Some of the group’s leaders have expressed interest in forming a temporary government to replace the current council — a move that would put them at loggerheads with the military chiefs.

Candidates may start registering on March 10 for the historic vote to elect a new head of state for the world’s most populous Arab country, which was run autocratically by President Hosni Mubarak for three decades. Mubarak was ousted a year ago.

Ernesto Londoño covers the Pentagon for the Washington Post.
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