Egypt presidential election set for May 23-24

Egypt presidential election set for May 23-24

Egypt's first presidential election to find a successor to ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak will be held on May 23, the chief of electoral commission said today.

The first round of the presidential poll would be held over two days on May 23-24, while a run-off would take place on June 16-17, Farouk Sultan was quoted as saying by BBC.

The winner will be announced on June 21, he said, in accordance to a timetable set by the ruling military council to hand over power to a civilian leadership before the end of June, more than a year after an uprising in February 2011 ousted Mubarak, the country's dictator of 30 years.

He told reporters that Egyptians living abroad will be allowed to cast their absentee ballots from May 11-17.

Amid growing concern over the fairness of the landmark polls, Sultan underlined that no international monitors would be allowed to oversee the election.

The Egyptian parliament is due to hold a joint session on March 3 to select a 100-member panel to draft a new constitution, the main task of the chambers.

Egypt's upper house of parliament yesterday chose an Islamist as its speaker during the inaugural session of the newly elected Shura Council. The lower house earlier chose its speaker who is a professor of microbiology.

The Muslim Brotherhood dominated the landmark parliamentary polls to emerge as the largest bloc following the ouster of Mubarak.

Brotherhood allied Freedom and Justice Party hold just under half of all seats in the 508-seat lower house and 106 of the Shura Council's 180 elected seats.

An additional 90 lawmakers are due to be appointed by the ruling generals in power since Mubarak was ousted a year ago. The ruling military council is expected to leave the appointments to the nation's next president.

Ultra-orthodox Islamists known as Salafis made a strong showings in the elections for the two Houses, finishing second behind the Freedom and Justice Party, giving parliament a distinct Islamic character.