Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi set the schedule for multistage parliamentary elections on Thursday.
But opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei warned today that the vote may only inflame tensions unless there are serious political talks first.
Mr Morsi pegged the start of the staggered, four-stage ballot for April 27, and it will end in June.
The newly elected parliament would convene on July 6, Mr Morsi's decree said.
Mr ElBaradei, who leads the main opposition National Salvation Front, said that Mr Morsi's "decision to go for parliamentary elections amidst severe polarisation and eroding state authority is a recipe for disaster."
Mr Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood has already been preparing for elections through outreach programmes.
The group has grass-roots support partly through its vast network of charities that help the poor.
The mostly secular opposition has trailed significantly at the polls, but Mr Morsi's popularity has waned in recent months.