CAIRO — Egyptian election officials say nearly 500 people have obtained applications to run for president, a sign of the excitement generated by the country's first presidential elections in which the outcome is in doubt.

Election officials say 472 people have by Wednesday received the papers to officially declare their candidacy for the vote, which follows last year's ouster of Hosni Mubarak.

They said that, beside known presidential hopefuls who have been seriously campaigning, the applicants included a wide range of obscure Egyptians in different professions like journalists, judges, lawyers and school teachers.

The election is scheduled for May 23-24.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.