An egyptian soldier guards as Egyptians wait to cast their votes during parliamentary elections, outside a polling station in Cairo on Nov. 28, 2011. (Photo: Reuters)
Judge Hatem Bagato, secretary-general of Egypt's Higher Presidential Elections Committee (HPEC), announced on Thursday that the official registration period for presidential candidacies will begin Saturday, 10 March, at 9am. It will end at 2pm on 8 April, he said.
Bagato also declared that the committee had limited presidential campaign budgets to a maximum of LE10 million in the run-up to first-stage polling and a maximum of LE 2 million before runoff polls. The judge added that the HPEC was permitting only three banks in Egypt to hold campaign accounts.
The committee has also banned all foreign donations to Egyptian presidential campaigns, only permitting campaign donations from Egyptian citizens. It has also banned donations from Egyptian or foreign companies or agencies.
The HPEC has also called for a "silent period," Begato said, during which all campaigning will stop, for the two days prior to the elections.
Bagato stressed that anyone found violating these restrictions would face legal penalties.
Egypt's first presidential poll after the January 25 revolution will be held on 23 and 24 May. In the event that no candidate wins an outright majority, runoffs will then be conducted on 16 and 17 June.
Amr Moussa, the former head of the Arab League and a one-time foreign minister under ousted president Mubarak, and Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, a former leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood, are among more than a dozen candidates expected to compete for the country's presidency.
The field will most likely also include several presidential hopefuls such as Nasserist Hamdeen Sabahi, Islamist Mohamed Selim El-Awa, Salafist leader Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, leftist labour lawyer Khaled Ali, reform Judge Hisham El-Bastawisi, and head of the SCAF advisory council Mansour Hassan among others.