Egypt holds presidential candidate debate

2012-05-10 14:10

Cairo - Egypt is set to hold its first ever debate between presidential candidates on Thursday when two frontrunners for this month's election duel it out on television.

Amr Mussa, a former foreign minister and Arab League chief, faces the moderate Islamist Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh in the debate which will be aired on two private Egyptian television channels, ONTV and Dream.

The debate is scheduled to start by 18:00 GMT.

The hotly disputed 23-24 May election will mark the end of a tumultuous military-led transitional period to civilian rule after a popular uprising ousted president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.

Opinion polls suggest Mussa and Abul Fotouh, a former senior member of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, are leading the race, with Mubarak's former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq trailing them.

The Brotherhood, which dominates the parliament and senate, is represented by Mohammed Mursi, the head of its political arm, after its first choice, deputy Supreme Guide Khairat El-Shater, was disqualified over a previous military court conviction.

The military rulers who took charge after Mubarak's ouster say they will hand power to the elected president by the end of June.