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Egypt’s Presidential Election (Factbox)

Published: 22/05/2012 04:18:05 PM GMT
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CAIRO - Egypt is going to polling stations on Wednesday, May 23, in the first free election to pick a replacement for former president Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted in a popular revolution last year.Below are some deta (more)

CAIRO - Egypt is going to polling stations on Wednesday, May 23, in the first free election to pick a replacement for former president Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted in a popular revolution last year.

Below are some details provided by Reuters about the vote and who is running:

When will the vote take place?

The first round takes place on Wednesday and Thursday, with about 50 million of Egypt's 82 million people eligible to vote.

According to the official schedule, counting will be completed on Saturday, followed by a period for appeals. The first-round result will be formally announced on May 29.

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If any candidate gains more than 50 percent of the votes in the first leg, he wins outright. That seems unlikely, so a run-off between the top two vote-getters is expected to go ahead on June 16 and 17, with the result due on June 21.

Turnout was about 60 percent in the parliamentary election. Some analysts expect that figure to be exceeded in this vote.

Who are the candidates?

Thirteen candidates entered the race after the election committee disqualified 10 for failing to meet requirements. Among those ejected was Mubarak's former spy chief - and briefly his vice president - Omar Suleiman, as well as a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is now fielding reserve candidate Mohamed Mursi. There are now 12 in the race after one withdrew.

The other main contenders are the liberal former Arab League chief Amr Moussa, who is one of the best-known names in the race, Islamist candidate Abdel Moneim Abul-Futuh who has appealed to voters ranging from liberals to Salafis, and Ahmed Shafiq, a former air force commander, aviation minister and, in the final days of Mubarak's rule, prime minister. Most other candidates are viewed as well down the field, although leftist candidate Hamdeen Sabahy has been gaining popularity with his down-to-earth style.

Who will win?

Opinion polling is a novelty in Egypt where votes in Mubarak's era were widely rigged and the outcome a foregone conclusion. So the reliability of the widely varying polls published in newspapers is untested. Moussa, Abul-Futuh, Mursi, Shafiq and Sabahy all appear to have a chance of getting into the second round, but the contest is wide open.

How did Egypt choose a president in the past?

Mubarak, then vice-president, came to power when President Anwar Sadat was assassinated in 1981. Sadat, previously vice-president, had also taken over from Gamal Abdel Nasser when he died in 1970. For most of his three decades in power, Mubarak was confirmed in office by single-candidate referendums. Turnout was usually very low.

In 2005, under US pressure to open up, Egypt staged a multi-candidate election but the rules made it impossible for anyone to stage a realistic challenge. The result, to no one's surprise, was a sweeping victory for Mubarak. He would have faced another election in 2011, when many wondered if he would step down in favor of his son Gamal. But a mass uprising ended Mubarak's rule in February last year and the former president and his two sons are now on trial.

Who will monitor the race?

Some of the pro-democracy groups that witnessed Egypt's parliamentary election have ceased to function because of a judicial crackdown linked to allegations of illegal foreign funding. Three international groups received licenses to monitor the presidential vote, fewer than in the legislative election. They are the US-based Carter Center, the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa and an Arab network for election monitoring, alongside several local bodies such as the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, Alam Gdeed (New World) and Lessa Shayfenkum (We Are Still Watching You). International monitors said they cannot give a full assessment of the vote because they were blocked from witnessing most of the campaign.

Reproduced with permission from