Egypt's electoral commission announced Sunday that the country’s presidential election will take place on May 26 and 27, less than a year after the army overthrew President Mohamed Morsi.
The man who toppled Egypt's first democratically elected leader in July, former army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, is expected to win the vote easily.
The election would go into a second round if there is no clear winner, but that outcome seems unlikely given Sissi’s popularity and the absence of serious contenders. The only other main candidate is leftwing politician Hamdeen Sabbahi, who came third in the 2012 election that Morsi won.
According to a road map drawn up by the military-installed government, the presidential election will be followed by a parliamentary poll to restore elected rule by the end of the year.
The announcement, made by electoral chief Ashraf al-Asy at a news conference, came days after Sissi resigned as defense minister and army commander in order to run for president, pledging to eradicate terrorism.
Egypt has been rocked by violent protests and a spate of attacks in Sinai by armed groups that have killed 496 people since last July, the government says.
Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood party — now outlawed as a "terrorist" group — has said there could be no stability with Sissi as president, accusing him of staging a coup against the country's first freely elected and civilian president.
The group has vowed to continue protests, which along with instability in Sinai threatens to further damage the already battered economy.
Last week, an Egyptian court sentenced more than 500 Morsi supporters to death. It is the biggest mass death sentence in the country's modern history and is part of a wider crackdown on dissent in the run up to elections.
Hundreds of Morsi supporters were killed when Egyptian authorities violently broke up their peaceful sit-ins near Cairo in August. Morsi, meanwhile, sits in jail awaiting trial on charges of espionage and "terrorism."
Egypt has experienced three years of political turmoil since 2011 when Arab Spring revolutions swept the Middle East and Egyptians ended President Hosni Mubarak's three decades of one-man rule.
Al Jazeera and The Associated Press