Egypt to begin registration for presidential race in mid-April
CAIRO - Candidates for Egypt's first presidential election since the ouster of veteran leader Hosni Mubarak can start registering from April 15, a member of the ruling military council said in the media on Monday.
Major General Mohsen al-Fanjari of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces said the registration is part of a roadmap drawn up by the SCAF for the presidential election to take place in June.
SCAF chief Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi pledged in November that the military will hand over power to civilian rule after the election.
Frontrunners in the presidential race include former Arab League chief Amr Mussa, a veteran Egyptian diplomat who was foreign minister under Mubarak, as well as Abdel Moneim Abul Fotuh, a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Nobel Prize laureate and ex-head of the UN atomic watchdog Mohamed ElBaradei decided last week to drop out of the race, complaining of a lack of democracy in Egypt despite Mubarak's ouster in a popular uprising last year.
Other candidates include Ahmad Shafiq, the last prime minister to serve under Mubarak, as well as Salafist leader Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, Nasserite head Hamdeen Sabahi and Islamist independent figure Salim al-Awwa.
Egypt's powerful Muslim Brotherhood, whose Freedom and Justice Party scored a crushing victory in legislative elections, have said they will announce a consensus candidate for the presidential race before the poll.
Once elections for an upper house are concluded in February, parliament will choose a 100-member panel to draft a new constitution, followed by the presidential election in line with a timetable set by Egypt's military rulers.
But there is widespread belief that the SCAF, to which Mubarak handed over power, will continue to hold on to some sort of power after the transition.
The military has been the backbone of Egyptian politics ever since the fall of the monarchy in 1952, and every president since has emerged from the top ranks of the armed forces.