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An Egyptian woman wears a mask of Egypt's Defense Minister Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Tahrir Square. / Khalil Hamra, AP

CAIRO ?? Egypt's interim president Adly Mansour announced Sunday that presidential elections will be held before a parliamentary poll, altering a political roadmap outlined last summer.

In a speech broadcast on television, Mansour asked the nation's high elections committee to open the door for candidacy in line with a provision in the nation's new constitution, which was adopted earlier this month.

Based on a timeline in the new charter, the election will be held by mid-April.

"The main objective is to fill this top political post as a measure to restore stability," said Mazen Hassan, a political analyst in Cairo, noting that the announcement was expected.

It is unclear if the next elected president will hold full legislative powers in the interim period before a parliamentary vote, Hassan said.

"That is what is called a silent issue in the constitutional draft because the constitution itself does not speak about the order of elections," Hassan said. "I presume that a constitutional declaration will be issued by the interim president before the presidential elections to govern this period."

The announcement follows a day of opposing political rallies and violence that Egypt's Health Ministry said killed 49 people and wounded another 247 on the third anniversary of the uprising against dictator Hosni Mubarak, according to the official state news agency MENA.

Anti-government marches nationwide devolved into deadly clashes with security forces, underscoring deep political splits three years after the nation united to oust Mubarak. Some 1,079 people were arrested in rallies on Saturday, the state news agency said.

Meanwhile, supporters of Egypt's army Gen. Abdel Fattah Al Sisi poured into Tahrir Square on Saturday to celebrate the uprising and show their support for the commander, whom many political observers predict will be Egypt's next president if he decides to contest the election.

"Most likely he would win. He is very popular," said Mustapha Al Sayyid, a political science professor at both Cairo University and the American University in Cairo.

"Most people who don't like him or don't want to see a military or army officer again as head of state in Egypt will not go to vote," Al Sayyid said. "I doubt very much there is a candidate who can defeat Sisi in elections."



Copyright 2014USA TODAY

Read the original story: Egypt's leader: Presidential election will come first

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