Egypt to hold presidential elections

(CNN) — Egypt’s presidential elections will take place on May 26 and 27, Egyptian media reported Sunday, citing an announcement by the country’s Presidential Elections Commission.

Army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi announced Wednesday that he would resign and declared his candidacy in the national polls. El-Sisi, 59, Egypt’s defense minister, had to leave the army in order to run for president.

El-Sisi deposed President Mohamed Morsy of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s first freely elected leader, last year following mass protests against the latter’s rule.

The officer is popular among Egyptians who supported the army’s decision to remove Morsy from power a year into his term — seeing el-Sisi as the kind of strong man needed to end the turmoil dogging Egypt since a popular uprising in 2011 ended Hosni Mubarak’s three decades of one-man rule.

Egypt: Swapping one dictator for another?

Egypt’s presidential election

But el-Sisi is reviled by the Islamist opposition, which sees him as the mastermind of a coup against an elected leader and the author of a fierce crackdown on dissent.

Egypt has suffered bloody internal strife since Morsy was overthrown.

Also on Sunday, unknown gunmen opened fire on a security personnel carrier in Egypt’s Sinai region, killing one soldier and injuring three policemen, the state-run Al-Ahram newspaper reported, citing a military source.

The security personnel carrier was traveling on a motorway in the North Sinai town of Sheikh Zuweid, the source told the Al-Ahram Arabic news website, without elaborating.

Militants based in the Sinai peninsula near the Israeli border have stepped up attacks on soldiers and policemen since Morsy’s ouster. Morsy and other Brotherhood leaders were rounded up soon after.

READ: Egypt’s El-Sisi to resign, paving way for presidential bid

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CNN’s Marie-Louise Gumuchian contributed to this report.

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