Middle East

Egypt presidential election set for late May

Supporters of Egypt"s former army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi celebrate the announcement of his candidacy Image copyright Reuters
Image caption A cult of personality has grown up around the ex-army chief

The first round of Egypt's presidential poll has been set for 26-27 May, officials say, days after army chief Field Marshal Abdul Fattah al-Sisi resigned and announced his candidature.

State TV said nominations would be accepted from Monday until 20 April.

Abdul Fattah al-Sisi led the overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in July after mass opposition protests.

Correspondents say he is likely to win the presidency, given his popularity and the lack of any serious rivals.

If he does not win more than 50% in the first round of voting, a second round will be held on 16-17 June.

Egyptians abroad will vote between 15 and 19 May, state media report.

The only other person to declare his candidacy so far has been Nasserist politician Hamdeen Sabahi, who came third in the last presidential elections in 2012.

If Mr Sisi does become president, he will be the latest in a line of Egyptian rulers drawn from the military; a line only briefly broken during President Morsi's year in office.

Human rights groups say the military-backed authorities have displayed increasing hostility to independent media and to political opponents.

Since Mr Morsi's overthrow more than 1,000 people have been killed and thousands of members of Mr Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood have been detained in a crackdown by the interim authorities, who have designated the Islamist movement a terrorist group.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that an anti-Sisi hashtag had drawn a threat of arrest by the Egyptian authorities.