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Sisi urged to run for Egypt presidency

Thousands of rallying supporters tell army chief he must "complete his good deed" after removing President Morsi.

Last updated: 21 Jan 2014 20:13
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A campaign titled 'complete your good deeds' urges Sisi to run for president [AP]

Thousands of supporters of Egypt's powerful army chief have rallied in Cairo, urging him to run for president. 

Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the general who removed Islamist President Mohamed Morsi from power last year, was the focus of the crowd at Cairo Stadium on Tuesday, as supporters held banners calling on him to "complete your good deed" by running for the presidency.

"At the top of our priorities is to choose a nationalist leader," the former Interior Minister, Ahmed Gamal Eddin, told the demonstrators, some of whom held banners reading: "Egypt calls upon you."

Standing next to him on the tribune, Coptic Priest Bolous Awida described Sisi as "the soaring eagle" and led chants of "El-Sisi is my president". Further down, former grand Imam Ali Gomaa said: "The army, the police and Egypt order you to complete your good deed."

At the top of our priorities is to choose a nationalist leader

Ahmed Gamal Eddin, 
Egypt's former Interior Minister

The campaign was started after results last week showed that a draft constitution drawn up by the interim government was approved by more than 98 percent of voters. However, only 39 percent of those eligible to vote did so.

Presidential elections are the second phase of the military's transition plan, introduced upon Morsi's removal after millions demanded he step down for alleged abuse of power and subservience to his Muslim Brotherhood group.

Sisi has not indicated his intentions.

The interim president, Adly Mansour, will decide whether Egyptians vote first for their president or for parliament.

The push for Sisi to run came as Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood called for mass protests to mark January 25, 2011, the first day of an 18-day uprising that forced longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak to step down.

Liberal and secular-minded activists have also made similar calls but said they will not join forces with rival Islamists in their rallies.

The Brotherhood and its supporters have held near-daily protests since Morsi's removal but a tough security crackdown, its re-designation as a "terrorist group", and the jailing of top leaders has left the group deeply weakened.

On Tuesday, the Cairo Appeals Court set February 16 as the start date for one of four trials of Morsi and top Muslim Brotherhood leaders.

This one is on charges of conspiring with groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah, as well as with Iran, to destabilise Egypt. 

Charges in the other three trials he faces, including inciting the killing of his opponents and organising jailbreaks, carry the death penalty.

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Source:
AP
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