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Egypt Holds First Presidential Debate

  • VOA News

Egyptian presidential hopefuls Amr Moussa (R) and Abdel-Moneim Abolfotoh smile during a televised debate in Cairo May 10, 2012.

Egyptian presidential hopefuls Amr Moussa (R) and Abdel-Moneim Abolfotoh smile during a televised debate in Cairo May 10, 2012.

Two leading candidates in this month's presidential election in Egypt have taken part in the country's first presidential debate.

Former foreign minister Amr Moussa squared off against Abdel-Moneim Abolfotoh, a moderate Islamist who broke with the once-banned Muslim Brotherhood last year.

Groups of Egyptians gathered in cafes to watch the debate, which lasted past midnight, and aired on several private television channels.

At one point, Abolfotoh criticized Moussa for being part of the government of former President Hosni Mubarak, saying "the one who created the problem cannot solve it." Abolfotoh said, "We revolted against this regime."

Moussa said Abolfotoh "used to defend the positions of the Muslim Brotherhood," instead of Egyptian interests.

The two men are among 13 candidates vying for the presidency in elections that begin on May 23.

The winner will be the country's first leader since a popular uprising led to Mubarak's abrupt resignation in 2011.

The military council that took over from Mubarak has faced mounting criticism from some Egyptians for what they consider a slow pace of reforms.

Earlier this month, tens of thousands of protesters rallied in Cairo, demanding an immediate end to military rule.

The military council has promised a transfer of power to an elected president by July 1.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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