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Egypt's Presidential Election Is Set For Late May

Egypt will hold its presidential election on May 26 and 27, a government election commission announced Sunday. The results aren't likely to be declared until late June; many expect the country's former military chief to win the office.

From Cairo, NPR's Leila Fadel sent this report to our Newscast unit:

"The date was set days after Egypt's military chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi announced his resignation from the army and declared that he plans to run for president. The elections will begin at the end of May, and a winner will be declared by June 26.

"The elections are a key step in the transitional government's political roadmap, following the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi this summer. Right now there are no elected leaders in Egypt's government and there's no parliament.

"Abdel Fattah el Sissi is widely expected to take the country's top job. Many would-be candidates say they will not run in the current political atmosphere and that a fair election isn't possible when critics of the state are being arrested

"The electoral commission says they will be accepting nominations until April 20 and the campaign season kicks off in May."

As Leila reported earlier this week, Egypt's judicial system has come under criticism for holding mass trials of hundreds of people — including one in which a court "sentenced 529 men to death after a two-day trial," she said.

Some trials and detentions have targeted members and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, the ousted Morsi's group.

And the BBC reports the current leaders are working to quash other opposition, as well:

"Also on Sunday, Egyptian authorities announced they were monitoring the use of an anti-Sisi hashtag on Facebook and Twitter which translates as 'vote for the pimp.'

"Officials warned they would arrest the most prolific users of the hashtag."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.