Egypt braces for early presidential polls
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Last Updated: Tuesday, February 07, 2012, 22:28
Cairo: Egypt's military leader has told electoral officials to speed up preparations for presidential elections after a new eruption of street protests demanding that the ruling generals move more quickly to hand power to an elected government.

The military rulers had previously promised to hold presidential elections for their successor by the end of June.

But Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, the head of the ruling military council, yesterday asked election commission officials "to quickly finish legal procedures for presidency nominations," according to Egypt's state-run news agency MENA.

Election Commission Chief Abdel-Moez Ibrahim said that based on Tantawi's orders, nominations for president would be accepted on March 10, a month earlier than the original date.

He didn't give a date for elections, but it was an indication that the vote may be held about a month ahead of schedule.

The ruling council pledged "to hand power to an elected civilian authority in a democratic, transparent and honest way."

Relations between the pro-democracy movement behind Egypt's uprising last year and the ruling generals who took power from ousted President Hosni Mubarak have grown increasingly hostile, punctuated by bouts of rioting, clashes and killings.

The protesters have long called for an immediate transfer of power to a civilian authority and accuse the generals of bungling what was supposed to be a transition to democracy.

Egypt has already held parliamentary elections which were the freest and the fairest in decades and propelled Islamists to dominance.


First Published: Tuesday, February 07, 2012, 22:06

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