Egypt's presidential vote to be held by November

Egypt'a Supreme Council for the Aramed Forces (SCAF), that has ruled Egypt since Mubarak's ouster on February 11 in a popular uprising, issued a decree establishing an interim constitution to guide the country until a permanent constitution is drafted and said a presidential election will be held in October or November.

The polls will be organised "within a month or two" of a parliamentary poll already timetabled for September, spokesman General Mamdouh Shahin said. The presidential elections will be a held a month or two after September's parliamentary contests, the Council told a news conference.

A new 62-article interim constitution will replace the one suspended after the fall of Mubarak. The interim constitution includes amendments that were endorsed by millions of Egyptians in a March 19 referendum, Shahin said.

The amendments are aimed at ensuring the upcoming elections are competitive. The election will be held according to new rules that open up competition for the position and limit presidents to two, four-year terms. The other articles specify the main basis of the governmental system and society. The first four articles discuss the state and its system, mentioning that the Arab Republic of Egypt is a democratic country and is part of the Arab nation, Islam is the state's religion and Arabic is its official language and the principles of the Islamic Sharia are the basic sources of legislation.

The declaration, just like the 1971 constitution, rules that 50 per cent of the members of the legislative councils should be workers and farmers. The authorities of the Shura Council (the upper house of parliament, were reduced.

The People's Assembly will acquire the authority of legislation and auditing of the budget from SCAF as soon as it is elected. By giving a timetable for parliament and presidential elections, the army backed up its earlier commitment to swiftly transfer power to a civilian democratic authority.

Many presidential hopefuls have already announced their plans to contest elections, including Nobel Prize laureate Mohamed ElBaradei and Arab League chief Amr Moussa.

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