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Egypt: Sisi presidential bid looks increasingly likely - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah El-Sissi addressing cadets at a military academy in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Egypt military spokesman via Facebook)

Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah El-Sissi addressing cadets at a military academy in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Egypt military spokesman via Facebook)

London, Asharq Al-Awsat—Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi gave the strongest indication yet that he intended to seek the Egyptian presidency on Tuesday, as interim President Adly Mansour considers a revised presidential election law.

In a speech at an officers’ graduation ceremony, the Egyptian army chief said: “I cannot turn my back when the majority wants me to run for president,” local media reported.

“The formal procedures will be finalized over the coming days,” Sisi added.

Speculation has reached fever pitch over a Sisi presidential bid, with expectations that the popular Egyptian defense minister will win a landslide victory if he does run. Many had expected Sisi to announce a presidential run following last week’s cabinet resignation and to step down as defense minister and army chief to facilitate this. But Sisi held onto the defense portfolio in the reshuffle, with many wondering whether he would ever resign as defense minister and army chief before an expected presidential bid.

Sisi said: “Don’t imagine that Egypt can stand up unless we help each other and put our hands together to solve the problems that piled up over more than 30 years. Nobody can solve these problems alone, but [they will be resolved] only when Egyptians stand shoulder to shoulder.”

The Egyptian defense minister’s comments come as Mansour received a draft of the revised presidential election law. Egypt’s State Council, a judicial advisory body, had previously reviewed a number of proposed amendments to the 59-article law after Mansour put the document up for public debate.

The revised election law retains a controversial article that allows politicians and citizens to appeal against the election’s official results as announced by the High Presidential Elections Commission. Reports also indicate that the draft law includes an article that provides that if only one candidate runs, the vote will be a referendum on the candidate and comes as many Egyptian media figures have called for Sisi to run unopposed. Despite these calls, a number of Egyptian politicians have hinted at a desire to run for president, including Nasserite former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahy and former Egyptian Army Chief of Staff Sami Annan.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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