27 Jan 2014

Presidential elections moved up in Egypt

5:45 am on 27 January 2014

Egypt's interim government has announced presidential elections have been moved forward. This means parliamentary polls will happen later, not first as earlier envisaged.

Interim President Adly Mansour giving a speech in Cairo.

Interim President Adly Mansour giving a speech in Cairo. Photo: AFP / Egyptian TV

The BBC reports the move is like to intensify speculation over whether General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will stand.

Many have urged to the army chief to do so after he led the removal of President Mohammed Morsi on 3 July last year.

Mr Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected president, was deposed after mass protests against his rule.

Interim President Adly Mansour announced the decision to bring forward the presidential poll in a televised speech, saying the decision had been taken after dialogue with "national forces and representatives of various orientations and trends".

Supporters of the military held rallies on Saturday to mark the third anniversary of the uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

Thousands gathered in high-profile locations including Tahrir Square - many waving Egyptian flags and banners showing General Sisi.

Anti-government protests also took place, with 49 people killed in clashes and arrests reported in several cities.

A BBC correspondent says many Egyptians believe General Sisi is the strong man the country needs.

The Muslim Brotherhood, has called for 18 days of protests beginning on Saturday, mirroring the 18 days of protests that led to Mr Mubarak stepping down three years ago.