Egyptians will vote in their first multi-candidate presidential election on Sept. 7, according to an official announcement Sunday.The nation's election committee said candidates can register nominations starting July 29, and that campaigning will begin Aug. 17 and end Sept. 4.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, left, talks to minister of Interior Habib el-Adli, right, and Sharm governor Mustafa, Afifi, center, as he visits the damaged Ghazala Gardens Hotel following an explosion in Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheik early Saturday July 23, 2005. Explosions ripped through the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheik early Saturday, killing at least 75 people. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
A general election is scheduled for November, but no date has yet been announced.
Parliament, dominated by President Hosni Mubarak's ruling National Democratic Party, adopted a constitutional amendment in May to allow more than one candidate to run, replacing the system which allowed Mubarak to win four, six-year terms in "yes" or "no" referendums in which he was the sole candidate.
A May 25 referendum overwhelmingly ratified the amendment, but a judicial report later said that authorities rigged turnout figures and forced state employees to fabricate the results.
Egypt's main opposition parties have said they will boycott the election and urged Egyptians to follow suit. They maintain that Mubarak has an unfair advantage, with the pro-government media giving him daily coverage and the state machinery at his disposal.
Mubarak, 77 and a close U.S. ally, came to power in 1981 after his predecessor, Anwar Sadat, was assassinated. He is widely expected to seek a fifth term but has yet to formally announce his candidacy, reported AP.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has refused to go to the 77th UN General Assembly in September