[QODLink]
Middle East

Egypt army chief considers presidential bid

General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi says he will run for president, but only at the request of Egyptian people and the army.

Last updated: 12 Jan 2014 05:30
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Sisi enjoys support among Egyptians who backed the military's removal of former President Mohamed Morsi [AP]

Egypt's army chief has indicated that he may run for president in elections slated for later this year, according to state media.

General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who led a military coup last July to depose the country's first democratically-elected leader, Mohamed Morsi, said on Saturday that he would run for the top post if the Egyptian people and army want him to.

"If I run then it must be at the request of the people and with a mandate from my army... We work in a democracy," Sisi said during an army seminar in Cairo.

Egyptian military officers told AFP news agency that Sisi had support within the army to stand in the election.

Sisi's comments come only days ahead of a referendum on a new Egyptian constitution scheduled for January 14-15.

The referendum will lead the way for parliamentary and presidential elections, as mandated by a political roadmap set up by the country's military-led interim government.

Vote of confidence

Samer Shehata, a professor of Middle East politics at the University of Oklahoma in the United States, told Al Jazeera: "If there are millions and millions of people who participate [in the referendum] ... he'll see that as an indication, I think, of a run for the presidency."

The referendum marks the first time Egyptians will vote since Morsi's removal and is largely seen to be as much a public vote of confidence in Sisi as in the charter itself.

Egyptian state news agency, MENA, quoted Sisi on Saturday urging Egyptians to "assume national responsibility and turn out in force to vote in the constitutional referendum in order to correct the democratic path and build a modern democratic state".

The military general is a polarising figure in Egypt, supported by people who called for Morsi's removal in mass protests last July, and hated by those who backed the deposed former president.

Morsi's supporters have held frequent protests calling for his reinstatement. They have been met by a widespread crackdown from security forces, and thousands have been arrested.

Sisi's candidacy for president could further deepen the divisions between many Egyptians.

347

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Colleagues of detained Al Jazeera journalists press demands for their release, 100 days after their arrest in Egypt.
Mehdi Hasan discusses online freedoms and the potential of the web with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
A tight race seems likely as 814 million voters elect leaders in world's largest democracy next week.
Featured
Since independence, Zimbabwe has faced food shortages, hyperinflation - and several political crises.
After a sit-in protest at Poland's parliament, lawmakers are set to raise government aid to carers of disabled youth.
A vocal minority in Ukraine's east wants to join Russia, and Kiev has so far been unable to put down the separatists.
Iran's government has shifted its take on 'brain drain' but is the change enough to reverse the flow?
Deadly attacks on anti-mining activists in the Philippines part of a global trend, according to new report.
join our mailing list