The first round of voting in Egypt's presidential election takes place on May 23 and 24
A banner in Arabic across a Cairo street reads "May God bring down the military rule". Campaigning for Egypt's presidential election next month officially began on Monday, with Islamists and liberal secularists expected to dominate the hustings. © Khaled Desouki - AFP
The first round of voting in Egypt's presidential election takes place on May 23 and 24
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AFP
Last updated: April 30, 2012

Egypt presidential campaign begins in earnest

Campaigning for Egypt's presidential election next month officially began on Monday, with Islamists and liberal secularists expected to dominate the hustings.

Official campaigning, during which candidates can display their posters in public and broadcast their messages on television, will last until May 21, 48 hours before polls open for the first round of voting, on May 23 and 24.

A second round of the election to choose a successor to former president Hosni Mubarak is expected to take place on June 16 and 17.

Egypt's ruling military, which took charge after Mubarak was ousted in a popular uprising in February last year, has promised that the vote will be free and has pledged to hand power to the winner by the end of June.

Despite officially beginning on Monday, campaigning has actually been in full swing for weeks, with streets already strewn with banners and candidates travelling across governorates from Upper Egypt to the Nile Delta.

The electoral committee last week announced the final list of 13 candidates for the vote, which should mark Egypt's first fair presidential elections after three decades of autocratic rule under Mubarak.

Thursday's announcement followed a tumultuous run-up that saw three leading candidates disqualified.

Ahmed Shafiq, the premier appointed by Mubarak just before his overthrow, was allowed to stand after the committee reversed an earlier decision to exclude him.

Other candidates include front runners Amr Mussa, a former foreign minister and Arab League chief, and the powerful Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Mursi, who filled in for the group's disqualified first pick, Khairat El-Shater.

The contest is narrowing down to a choice between secularists linked to the old guard -- such as Mussa and Shafiq -- and Islamists who hope to repeat their success in parliamentary elections after Mubarak's ouster.

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