- A cousin with the same name as the former president files to run
- Retired police general, 57, says he attended protests that led to his cousin's ouster
- He says his desire to help Egypt's economy recover motivated him to run
- Nearly 450 people have filed paperwork to run since the registration process opened
Egyptian voters may see a familiar name on the ballot when they head to the polls in presidential elections this spring.
Mohamed Hosni Mubarak, a cousin with the same name as the former president, is one of nearly 450 people who have registered to run.
The 57-year-old retired police general said he attended protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square last year that led to his cousin's ouster.
He said he hasn't spoken with the former president since then.
Even before the uprising that ended the elder Mubarak's 30-year rule, the younger cousin said their relations were distant. They only had a chance to chat at occasional funerals or family events, he said.
But the 83-year-old Mubarak's love for his country was clear, his cousin told Egypt's Al-Hayat TV.
"The former president loved Egypt, but was tricked by government officials surrounding him, who also prevented me from entering parliament in 2010 due to my name," he said.
The younger Mubarak said on Monday that he was still debating what route he will take toward his presidential bid. He said his desire to help Egypt's economy recover motivated him to run.
"I only want to see Egypt run by a president that concentrates on economic development and takes it to the top as a leading country in the region," he said.
In order to secure a spot on the ballot, Mubarak will need to collect 30,000 signatures from residents in at least 15 governorates. Candidates may also qualify with the backing of 30 members of parliament.
Since the registration process opened Saturday, 445 people have submitted paperwork to run, said Hatem Bagato, head of the executive election committee. Candidates have until April 8 to sign up.
The three-week campaign starts on April 30, Bagato said.
Elections are scheduled for two days beginning on May 23.
The vote will be a crucial step for the Egypt as the country reshapes its political infrastructure and lawmakers craft a new constitution.
Political support from the Muslim Brotherhood, which gained a majority of seats in parliamentary elections earlier this year, could be the key to presidential victory.
The moderate Muslim Brotherhood group this week said that they will announce the candidate they support "shortly."
Several high-profile candidates have already entered the race, including former government and military leaders, a television anchor and a former senior intelligence officer.
Journalists' cameras have also captured photos of lesser-known candidates, including teachers, journalists, merchants and laborers, outside the election committee headquarters.
The wide pool of candidates, some of whom do not have college educations, has drawn sharp criticism from some contenders.
"Many of the candidates are running for fame and seeking attention after decades of injustice in Egypt. Yet, a minimum requirement of a high school diploma or its equivalent is a joke," said Dr. Abdullah Shallan, a presidential candidate and former ambassador at the foreign ministry from 1993 to 2003.
Advertising spending restrictions of 10 million Egyptian pounds ($1.5 million) per candidate during the three-week campaign period have also come under fire.
Election officials have said they will confiscate any campaign posters hung before the campaigning period and will "punish" those candidates who spend more than the amount allowed.
Critics say such restrictions are impossible to enforce.
"This is another example of the inefficiency of the election committee, because there is no way of monitoring the expenses and many candidates have already been advertising for months," said Shallan, who is also a political science professor at the American University in Cairo.
Officials are scheduled to announce the election results on June 21, 10 days before the ruling military council, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, has said it will hand over authority to an elected government.
The military council has ruled since February 2011, after a groundswell of pro-democracy popular protests toppled Mubarak's presidency.
The ailing former president has been on trial on charges of corruption and ordering the deaths of hundreds of people who protested against his regime. He has denied the charges.
The final verdict and sentencing in that case are scheduled for June 2.