| Updated at: 0941 PST, Thursday, November 24, 2011|
CAIRO: Egyptians are set to vote on Monday in the first legislative elections since Hosni Mubarak was ousted, but a deadly countdown to the polls has cast a dark shadow over Egypt's first step to democratic rule.
For days, bloody clashes have raged in Cairo's Tahrir Square and in several provinces, pitting police against protesters demanding an end to the rule of the military which took power when Mubarak was toppled.
The clashes, which have left more than 30 people dead according to the health ministry, threatened to derail the process, but military council chief Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi insisted the elections will proceed as planned on November 28.
Voters face a labyrinthine balloting procedure, through which they will elect 498 candidates in the People's Assembly, with 10 candidates appointed by the country's ruler.
For the three decades of Mubarak's rule, parliament was dominated by his now dissolved National Democratic Party.
But this time around the powerful Muslim Brotherhood, the most organised political force in the country, is likely to emerge with a strong bloc through its newly formed Freedom and Justice Party.
According to a transition roadmap laid out by the military, the new assembly is to choose a panel of 100 people tasked with drafting the constitution.
Presidential elections will be set for no later than the end of June 2012.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which took power when Mubarak was ousted on February 11 and is headed by his long-time defence minister Tantawi, had vowed to hold elections after six months.
The delay infuriated protesters, who have been taking to the streets to demand that the military hand power to a civilian authority. (AFP)