Egypt’s Sisi says ‘can’t ignore’ calls to run for president

Agence France-Presse
Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is seen by his supporters as a strong hand who can stabilize Egypt following 3 years of unrest

DEFENSE MINISTER. A file photograph showing Egyptian Minister of Defense Abdel Fattah al-Sissi in Cairo, Egypt, 20 September 2013. Photo by Khaled Elfiqi/EPA

CAIRO, Egypt – Egypt’s army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi declared Tuesday, March 5, he cannot ignore demands that he run for president, in a looming election his supporters say he is certain to win.

Sisi is seen by his supporters as a strong hand who can stabilize Egypt following 3 years of unrest ignited by the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak.

He emerged as Egypt’s most popular leader after overthrowing Mubarak’s successor, Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, in July following massive protests against the year-long rule of the country’s first freely elected leader.

Officials close to Sisi told AFP the recently promoted field marshal would step down as defense minister after a law is passed to regulate the presidential election expected this spring.

“Field Marshal Sisi said he cannot turn his back when the majority wants his nomination in presidential elections,” the official MENA news agency reported.

“The next days will witness official measures,” he was quoted as saying at a graduation ceremony of military cadets in Cairo, without elaborating.

“All Egyptians must be shoulder-to-shoulder and exert all efforts for building, stabilizing, and developing” the country, said Sisi.

“The success of Egypt is not linked to the personality chosen by Egyptians, but to their will to build their country and its future.”

Supporters of Sisi rallied in their thousands in January calling on him to stand for election, and the military itself has said it would back his decision to enter the race.

If elected, Sisi may have to take unpopular measures such as streamlining Egypt’s bloated subsidies for food and fuel.

His supporters believe only Sisi, with his relatively broad support base, could pull off such measures.

Interim president Adly Mansour is expected to approve the electoral law this week or next week at the latest. –

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