Egypt braces for early presidential polls

Cairo: Egypt`s military leaders on Tuesday stepped up efforts for early presidential polls after the current round of street protests demanding their exit from power, even as candidates can start registering for elections from March 10, a month earlier than expected, officials said.

Head of the Supreme Council for the Armed Forces Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi asked election commission officials "to quickly finish legal procedures for presidency nominations," according to Egypt`s state-run news agency MENA.

Egypt`s military rulers had previously assured to hold presidential polls for their successor by the end of June. "Registration for the presidential election will begin on March 10," the head of the elections committee Faruk Sultan said, according to the state-run MENA news agency.

The move is seen as an attempt to calm the protestors and the violence which has been raging in downtown Cairo since last Thursday. At least 15 people have died in the cuurent protest. The violence erupted after more than 70 people died after a football match in the Egyptian city of Port Said.

The SCAF and the Ministry of the Interior were blamed for the poor security performance which led to the deaths. The issues was discussed in the parliament of Islamists majority but the Islmaists and in particular the Muslim Brotherhood sided with the SCAF and the Ministry denying any live ammunition was being used in the clashes at the nearby Ministry of the Interior.

MP Muhammad Abu Hamed had walked to the premises of the violence and returned with cases of live ammunition and tear gas only to be attacked by Islamists MPs blaming him for "eluding people to believe live ammunition was used" as all sessions of the parliament are aired live on a special TV station.