Egypt military ruler says presidential vote to 'model' free and fair vote

Egypt's military ruler says the country's upcoming presidential election will be a "model" of a free and fair vote and will reflect the will of the people.

More than 50 million Egyptian voters are to choose from among 13 candidates for the country's first president since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak in a popular uprising in February 2011. The vote starts May 23-24.

Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi's remarks were clearly meant to reassure Egyptians that the ruling military council will not push any preferred candidate of its own. Tantawi's spoke during a military exercise on Wednesday, according to state media.

It's the first time in Egypt's modern history that Islamist candidates face off former regime officials, including a former foreign minister and a former air force pilot.