Egyptian army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has given a televised address explaining his decision to resign and his bid for the presidency.
Sisi had to resign as defence minister and from the army to run in the election to be held later this year.
The following transcript is provided by the Egyptian army.
“Great people of Egypt
Today, I stand before you in my military uniform for the last time for I have made up my mind to retire as the Minister of Defence … I have spent my whole life as a soldier of this homeland serving its hopes and aspirations and so I will continue.
This is a very significant moment for me. The first time I wore the military uniform was in 1970 as 15-year cadet in the Air Force High School, almost 45 years ago. And I will always be proud of wearing the uniform of defending my country.
These recent years of our nation’s history have conclusively shown that no one can become president of Egypt against the will of the people or short of their support. Never can anyone force Egyptians to vote for a president they do not want. Therefore, I am here before you humbly stating my intention to run for the presidency of the Arab Republic of Egypt…. Only your support will grant me this great honour.
I stand before you to say true and genuine words as always. I say to you that I will answer the demand of a wide range of Egyptians who have called on me to run for this honourable office…. And I will always remain in the service of this country in any capacity desired by Egyptians.
A ‘costly mission’
The great people of Egypt
In this moment that I stand before you, I intend to remain as honest with you, with my country and with myself as I have always been.
We, Egyptians, have an extremely difficult task and a costly mission. The economic, social, political and security realities- whether before January 25th Revolution 2011 or the accumulations afterwards until June 30th Revolution 2013 – have reached the limit that requires an honest and brave confrontation of challenges.
We must be honest to ourselves. Our country is facing monumental challenges while our economy is weak… Millions of our youths are suffering from unemployment… This cannot be acceptable. Millions of Egyptians are sick and cannot find cure… This is also unacceptable.
Egypt is rich with its resources and people while it relies on donations and assistance…This is not acceptable, either.
Egyptians deserve to a lead a life of dignity, security and freedom. They deserve to have a job, food, education, medical treatment and affordable homes.
We, Egyptians, face tough challenges:
– The flapping state systems that cannot perform their duties need rebuilding. This is an issue that requires firm handling so that these systems can recover, cohere, unify and be in tune.
– Production has to resume in all sectors to save our country real dangers.
– The State needs to regain its posture and power that suffered much in the past period of time.
Our mission is to restore Egypt.
Intrusion must stop
What Egypt witnessed in the last years in politics or media, internally or externally made this country occasionally trespassed. It is time for this disrespect and this intrusion to stop. This is an esteemed country and everyone must know that this is a decisive moment … that disrespecting Egypt is an adventure with consequences … that Egypt is not a playground for any internal, regional or international party … and will never be.
I believe the realization of the future roadmap formulated by the truly patriotic forces in a decisive moment in the history of this nation has been our immediate task. On this path, God has ensured us success in drafting the constitution and here we are, taking our second stride to the presidential elections to be followed by the legislative elections.
My nomination for office should not deny others their right and duty to run if they see themselves competent to undertake the responsibility. I will certainly be pleased with the choice of the people and the winner of the voters’ trust.
I call upon the partners of this nation to realize that we all – the sons and daughters of Egypt- are in the same boat navigating to safety with no scores to settle or temporary disputes to pursue. We need our motherland for all its children with no alienation, exclusion or discrimination. We have open arms to everybody here or abroad declaring that any Egyptian not indicted by the law that we all abide by is an active partner in making the future with no limits or restraints.
The great people of Egypt
Despite all the hardships that our country is going through, I stand before you without the slightest feeling of despair or doubt. I rather stand with absolute faith in God and in your strong will to change Egypt to the better and usher your country to its rightful place among advanced nations.
Future ‘a joint effort’
It was your will that made the change. It was not the politicians or the military that removed two regimes. It is you, the people. The greatness of the Egyptian will have been evidently witnessed. However, we need to recognize that we are destined to do all in our powers to overcome future difficulties. The making of the future is a joint effort. It is a contract between the ruler and the people where the ruler is responsible before God and the people for his part and the people also have a commitment to work hard and show patience. A ruler cannot succeed alone … it takes the joint effort of both the ruler and the people to succeed.
The whole Egyptian people know that big victories can be attained for they have done that before. Yet, our will and desire to achieve victory have to couple with hard work. The abilities and talents of 7,000 years have to ally with hard work.
It is the hard, sincere and patriotic work that makes successful countries.
Every Egyptian able to work will be required to exert real efforts and I will be the first to spare no pains for a future well-earned by Egypt. This is the time to rally for the sake of our country.
Openness and clarity
With complete openness and under the circumstances that you all know, I am not going to launch a traditional presidential campaign. However, it is your right to share my vision of the future. This will be in a clear platform that seeks a modern and democratic Egypt once the High Electoral Commission allows for that. Yet, if you may, I will do that with no extravagance neither in words, funds or traditional practices for the circumstances are not in our favour.
My fellow citizens
We are threatened by the terrorists … by parties who seek the destruction of our life, safety and security. It is true this is my last day in uniform but I will fight every day for Egypt free of fear and terror … not only Egypt but the whole region… I repeat what I have said before “we’d rather die before Egyptians are terrorized”.
Finally, I will speak about hope … hope that is the outcome of hard work … hope that is the security and stability. Hope is the dream to usher Egypt to its leading place in the world. It is the dream to restore its strength, power and influence and teach the world as it did before.
I cannot make miracles. Rather, I propose hard work and self-denial. And know that if I am granted the honour of the leadership, I promise that we together, leadership and people, can achieve stability, safety and hope for Egypt.
God bless Egypt and its glorious people. Thank you.”