Egypt to hold May 26-27 presidential election

March 30, 2014
Supporters of Egypt's former army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi wave Egyptian flags and hold his pictures one day after he announced his candidacy for presidential election in Tahrir square in Cairo
Supporters of Egypt's former army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi wave Egyptian flags and hold his pictures one day after he announced his candidacy for presidential election in Tahrir square in Cairo March 28, 2014. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptians will vote on May 26 and 27 in the first round of a presidential election, the organising body said on Sunday, a contest former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is expected to win easily.

Sisi, who deposed President Mohamed Mursi last July, has been riding on a wave of popular backing from supporters who see him as the man who can save Egypt from crisis. But the Islamist opposition views him as the mastermind of a coup.

Sisi was seen as the most influential figure in an interim administration that has been cracking down hard on Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood and other opponents in the last nine months. The Brotherhood, Egypt's best organised political party until last year, has been banned and driven underground.

The vote will go to a second round in June if the first-placed candidate does not by a wide enough margin. The organising committee did not say what this margin was during a televised news conference.

Sisi is widely expected to win comfortably. He enjoys solid support from privately- and state-run media.

So far, the only other candidate for the presidency is leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi, who came third in the 2012 election won by Mursi.

Sisi stepped down as defence minister and army chief in order to announce his candidacy last Wednesday.

Candidates may conduct their election campaigns between May 3 and May 23, the spokesman for the committee in charge of organising the elections said in a televised news conference.