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Egypt Opens Registration for Presidential Race
March 11, 2012

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The registration period for Egyptian presidential candidates is open, and dozens have already announced their candidacies.

Some candidates, like Ahmed Shafiq and Amr Moussa, are well-known. Shafiq was the country's last prime minister when Hosni Mubarak was president; Moussa was once head of the Arab League. Also vowing to run was Abdel Moneim Abol Fotoh, a popular leader when he was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, a few years ago. 

Other candidates, representing themselves or lesser-known parties, also expressed interest in running. The closing date for nominations is April 8.

The two-day election will run May 23-24. If no candidate gains more than 50 percent of the vote, then the candidates who receive the two highest vote totals will take part in a runoff election on June 16-17. Final results will be announced on June 21. The ruling generals have vowed to hand over power by July 1.

The Muslim Brotherhood itself has announced that it would not field a candidate for president. However, the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, which won 43 percent of the seats in the country's two-house Parliament in the recent elections, reiterated its call for a national unity cabinet, one that truly reflected the political representation of Parliament.

Meanwhile, the military council was putting the finishing touches on a $3.2 billion loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund. The infusion, which would take effect in the next few months, would add to the recent income generated by a sale of treasury bills. The government had offered 3.5 billion pounds worth of treasury bills but ended up selling 1 million more than that. 

Overall, the Egyptian pound has started to reverse the downward trend that accompanied the political stability caused by the unrest in February 2011. Still worrying observers, though, was the absence of foreign investors.
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