|Egyptian man walks past a symbolic grave for former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Tahrir square in Cairo, February 16, 2012. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem|
Egypt will hold its first presidential election since the fall of Hosni Mubarak by late May, a government minister was quoted saying in the state newspaper al-Ahram on Wednesday.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which has ruled Egypt since the toppling of Mubarak last February, has faced increasing demands to hand over power to civilians ahead of the official end of June deadline.
Officials announced earlier this month that nominations for the race would be accepted from March 10, signaling an accelerated handover of power.
Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Local Development Mohamed Attia told al-Ahram the election would be held by late May, giving candidates three weeks to declare their candidature ahead of a 45 day campaign.
Most candidates have already begun unofficially canvassing votes.
The judicial election committee is the only body with the authority to set the election date. Under new rules approved in a referendum last year, presidents will be limited to two consecutive, four-year terms.
Last month SCAF set out rules that determine the eligibility of candidates. Those seeking office must be born in Egypt to Egyptians parents, not be married to a foreigner, and carry only one nationality.
They must also be endorsed by at least 30 MPs or 30,000 eligible voters.
Political figures and a civilian advisory body to the military had previously suggested bringing forward a presidential vote to April or May.
The powerful Muslim Brotherhood, which holds nearly 50 percent of seats in parliament, has on several occasions supported the military's current handover timetable.
The Islamists have announced they will not field a Presidential candidate.