[JURIST] In an unexpected move Saturday, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak [official profile] ordered a change in the country's election laws to allow multiple candidates to run in presidential elections. The change would allow for the first multi-candidate election in Egypt since the 1952 revolution. The announcement comes in the wake of increased demands from opposition leaders that Mubarak amend the Egyptian constitution [text] to allow for more than one candidate to compete in a presidential election. Analysts speculate that mounting criticism from Washington over the arrest and detention of opposition leader Ayman Nour [BBC report], accused of forging signatures in an effort to secure a party license, also played a role in the decision. The Egyption Organization for Human Rights [advocacy website], a group which had denounced the detention of Nour [EOHR press release] as politically motivated, praised the election announcement of as a step towards freedom and democracy. AP has more.