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Egypt sets dates for referendum and polls

Activist states 19 March is date proposed by military for referendum. Parliament elections to be held in June and presidential elections in August

Reuters, Tuesday 1 Mar 2011

Egypt's military leaders will hold a referendum on constitutional change on 19 March, a parliamentary election in June and a presidential poll six weeks later, a youth activist revealed on Monday after their meeting.

Zyad El-Eleimy and 16 other members of the Coalition of Revolutionary Youth, which took part in protests to oust President Hosni Mubarak, said he had met three members of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces on Sunday.

"The armed forces council told us the referendum on constitutional amendments would take place on 19 March and the Parliament elections would be held in June," El-Eleimy said. "Presidential elections would be held a month and a half later."

The council has yet to set a formal date for the referendum or elections.

El-Eleimy said the council's timeframe for the referendum and the elections reflected its eagerness to hand over power. "The council said it was committed to see a civilian government set up within the six-month period and refused to consider extending the period," according to El-Eleimy.

Egypt's new military rulers stated on 13 February they would keep control of the country for six months or until parliamentary and presidential elections were held, following constitutional amendments.

Voters can use their national identification cards to vote rather than obtaining a voting card -- a procedure that opposition activists and voters said discouraged participation.

The elections will be supervised by the judiciary, which was largely powerless in the last election held under the Mubarak regime, which was widely seen as rigged.

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