Egyptian army chief to run for presidencyThursday 06 February 2014 23.29
Egyptian army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who deposed the country's first freely elected leader, has said he will run for president, a Kuwaiti newspaper has reported.
The widely expected move is almost certain to increase political tensions and anger Islamist militants who have stepped up attacks on the state since Mr Sisi ousted Islamist president Mohamed Mursi in July after mass protests against him.
It will also deepen concerns that military men will again dominate Egypt after a 2011 popular uprising raised hopes of a civilian democracy.
The newspaper, Al-Seyassah, quoted Mr Sisi as saying in an interview that he had no alternative but to meet the wishes of the Egyptian people for him to run.
"I will not reject the demand," said Mr Sisi, who is seen as a decisive figure that can ease political turmoil that has hit Egypt's economy hard.
"I will present this to the Egyptian people to renew confidence through free voting."
There was no official confirmation that Mr Sisi will contest elections expected within six months.
A statement from Egypt's military spokesman said comments that appeared in the Kuwaiti newspaper were not direct quotes from Mr Sisi.
But the spokesman did not deny that he would run for president.
Mr Mursi and his Muslim Brotherhood movement accuse Mr Sisi of staging a coup and undermining democratic gains made since a popular uprising ousted autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
After deposing Mr Mursi, Mr Sisi unveiled a political roadmap meant to lead to free and fair elections.
But under his watch, security forces have mounted a fierce crackdown against the Brotherhood and stifled dissent, drawing fire from human rights groups.