The Egyptian election commission has barred 10 candidates from running for president, including Omar Suleiman,former spy chief under autocratic President Hosni Mubarak, Muslim Brotherhood candidate Khairat al-Shater, and Salafi politician Hazem Abu Ismail.
The head of the Supreme Presidential Election Commission, Farouk Sultan, declined to give details on the reasons for their disqualification, but said the 10 have 48 hours to appeal. Thirteen others had their candidacy approved, including former Arab League chief Amr Moussa.
The final list of approved candidates will be announced before the end of the month.
If upheld, the decision would redraw the electoral landscape and threaten to create a new political crisis less than six weeks before the presidential elections scheduled for May 23 and 24. Suleiman, Shater and Ismail are considered among the front-runners in the race.
The elections in May will be the first presidential polls since the ouster of Mr. Mubarak in a popular uprising 14 months ago.
If no candidate secures more than 50 percent of the vote, a run-off election will take place June 16 and 17.
Final election results will be announced June 21. Egypt's military rulers who took over from Mr. Mubarak had promised to hand over power to a civilian leader by the end of June.
Presidential candidates will be allowed to begin campaigning April 30.