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Egyptian Presidential Election Set For May 23-24

Egyptian election officials say May 23 and 24 are set as the dates for the country's first presidential election since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak a year ago.

Faruq Sultan, head of the election commission, said early voting would be from May 11 to May 17.

If necessary, a runoff vote would be June 16 and 17.

Final results are to be released on June 21 -- in line with promises from Egypt's military rulers to hand over power to civilians by the end of June.

Sultan said there would be no international monitors.

Mubarak, who ruled Egypt for three decades, was ousted in February 2011.

He left power in the hands of the military, is under pressure from demonstrators who want a faster transfer of power.

In other news, Egypt has lifted a travel ban preventing foreign pro-democracy activists from leaving the country, unnamed Egyptian judicial officials said on February 29.

Forty-three activists, including 16 Americans, are on trial in Cairo on charges of illegally receiving funds from abroad.

Seven of the Americans -- including the son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood -- are still in Egypt.

The trial was adjourned on February 26. It is not clear when the defendants would be able to leave Egypt.

The case has severely strained relations between Egypt and the United States, with Washington threatening that $1.5 billion in annual U.S. aid to Egypt could be in jeopardy.

Speaking in Washington earlier the same day, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she expected the case to be resolved "in the very near future."

With AFP, Reuters, and AP reporting