Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has set October 18th as the date for launching "free" parliamentary elections, his spokesman Safwat al-Sherif said Sunday.
The elections will take place in three stages, with the last stage ending on November 15th, Information Minister Safwat Sherif told reporters after Mubarak met with his main aides.
Voters will choose 444 of the parliament's 454 members; the remaining 10 are appointed by the head of state.
The voting will be held in three phases, with a third of the country expected to the polls in each phase. Egyptians are to vote for two representatives for each of their 222 districts.
Voting has been divided into three stages to ensure compliance with an electoral law adopted in July, requiring a magistrate to be present in each of the country's 15,000 or more polling places.
Mubarak's National Democratic Party (NDP), which has been in power since 1981, controls more than 90 percent of the seats in the current parliament.
The opposition, which has just 13 seats, alleged massive vote rigging in the 1995 elections, and the press has for several weeks been highly skeptical over the chances of a fair vote ahead of the coming election.
But Sherif pledged the elections would be "free.” -- ALEXANDRIA, Egypt (AFP)
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