Egypt's interim president has signed into law a bill aimed at regulating the upcoming presidential election, paving the way for army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to take part and win.
Adly Mansour, the interim president, issued the decree on Saturday with the elections commission expected to schedule the election for April.
“The president has issued a republican decree that regulates the presidential elections, allowing the electoral commission to start taking the necessary measures to hold the vote,” Mansour's legal and constitutional affairs adviser, Ali Awwad, told state television.
The decree also makes decisions of the commission immune to legal challenge, Awwad added; a contentious issue which had divided two of Egypt's top courts.
The controversial legislation stipulates that candidates should not be younger than 40 years old, and that they should collect more than 25,000 endorsements in at least 15 of the country's 27 provinces.
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Field Marshal Sisi is widely expected to declare his candidacy, and, if he runs, is forecast to win.
Sisi, 59, announced on his Facebook page on Tuesday that he was not prepared to "ignore the desire" of the Egyptian people.
In January thousands of Sisi's supporters rallied across Egypt calling on him to run, and the military itself has said it would back his decision to enter the election.
The presidential election is part of a transition plan laid out in July after the military deposed Islamist President Mohamed Morsi. Millions of Egyptians had been taking to the streets demanding an end to his one-year rule.
The transitional roadmap also includes a new constitution. which a majority approved in a January referendum.
The Brotherhood, which boycotted the referendum, says it remains committed to peacefully resisting what it calls a military coup against a freely elected leader.
The Brotherhood has kept up its protests against Morsi's overthrew in spite of a severe crackdown on the movement that saw the group labelled a terrorist organisation in December, hundreds of its supporters killed and thousands arrested.
On Friday, three protesters were killed and dozens wounded as supporters of Morsi clashed in street battles with police, the Health Ministry and security sources said.
Meanwhile, a group of 27 countries from the United Nations Human Rights Council expressed concerns over the Egyptian government's use of violence in its wide-scale crackdown on opposition protesters, the first reprimand from the international body since a bloody crackdown on dissent in the country began.
The Brotherhood has also faced regional backlash with Saudi Arabia, designated the Brotherhood a terrorist group, a move that an Egyptian government spokesman said Cairo welcomed.