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Egypt Elections: Voting To Start In April

Egyptians will begin electing the country's new parliament in April, President Mohamed Morsi has confirmed.

The vote is expected to last three months and will be held in four stages, with the first ballots set to be cast on April 27.

The announcement, made in a presidential decree, comes after the Shura Council, the upper house of parliament, adopted a new law, clearing the way for the president to set a date for the lower house election.

The legislation prevents members of parliament changing their political affiliation once elected. A third of the lower house is also designated for independents, while former members of the now defunct National Democratic Party are banned from politics for at least 10 years.

President Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood hope the election will bring an end to violent protests that have gripped the country for many months.

Some campaigners have demanded concessions from the president, while others want him removed from power altogether, claiming his party is monopolising power.

The Muslim Brotherhood accuses the opposition of trying to overthrow the first democratically elected leader in Egypt's 5,000-year history.

The elections will be held in phases in different regions of the country because of a shortage of poll supervisors.

The last lower house election lasted from late November 2011 until January the following year.