CAIRO - Egypt's first presidential election since Hosni Mubarak was overthrown a year ago will be held by late May, Wednesday's state newspaper al-Ahram quoted a government minister as saying.

Army leaders who took over from Mubarak in February last year have faced street protests and widespread demands that they hand power to civilians sooner than the end-June deadline they had set themselves.

Officials announced earlier this month that nominations for the race would be accepted from March 10, signalling that the generals have accelerated their planned handover of power by about a month.

Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Local Development Mohamed Attia told al-Ahram the election would be held by late May, giving candidates three weeks to declare their candidature and 45 days for campaigning. Most candidates have already begun campaigning unofficially.

The judicial election committee is the only body with the authority to set the election date.

Under new rules approved in a referendum last year, presidents will in future be limited to two consecutive, four-year terms.

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger