03/27/2014, 00.00
EGYPT - ISLAM

In last appearance in uniform, Gen. al-Sisi announces candidacy for president

The decision is long overdue. His election almost certain with 90% support of the population. After Mohamed Morsi interlude, military once again great electors of Egypt’s presidents. "Hard work and sacrifices".

Cairo ( AsiaNews) - Gen. Abdel Fattah al- Sisi, the man who led the ouster of the Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, has decided to run for president.

In a long overdue move, the head of the Armed Forces announced his decision yesterday in a televised address.  A decision he said he made "in all humility" and to "meet the people's demands".  While resigning from the military ranks (as required by the Egyptian constitution) , and speaking "for the last time in uniform", he will continue, " to fight every day for an Egypt free from terrorism".

His election as president is almost certain: polls show him and the Military the choice of 90 % of Egyptians, who are hoping that a strong government might revive the nation's economy, brought to its knees by the Arab Spring and terrorism linked to the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) .

A devout Muslim of 59, married with children, Sisi has thus far shown respect for Christians and seasons his discourse with quotes from the Koran. He owes his career to the army, the most powerful organization in Egypt, which since Nasser has chosen the presidents up to Mubarak. On the fall of the latter and with the rise of the MB, he was chosen by Mohamed Morsi as head of the armed forces, cultivating friendships between the Islamists and the military. In this way he succeeded in ensuring that the Islamist constitution - now repealed - would give enormous powers to the military, at the same time, he managed to save military leaders who under Mubarak had fired on the crowd in Tahrir Square from trial.

The people's growing dissatisfaction with the MB government and the alliance of these with Islamist terrorists in the Sinai, led to the fall of Morsi, wisely guided by al- Sisi who - even here - he listened to "the will of the people".

Since Morsi's fall, the army has waged a vigorous fight against the MB, arresting thousands , with hundreds condemned to death and many put on trial.

To stop the MB, al-Sisi decreed laws against unauthorized demonstrations or those critical of the government, which affect not only the Islamists but also the youth of the Arab spring fighting for a democratic Egypt.

In announcing his candidacy for president, al-Sisi who has always promised "a democratic transition" - stated that "extremely difficult tasks ahead for the country" that will require "hard work and sacrifice".

The date of the presidential election has yet to be set, but some Egyptian media say that in all likelihood they will take place in July.Al- Sisi does not seem to have any strong competitors. The only other candidate so far is Hamdeen Sabahi, a left-wing politician, who came third in the presidential election of 2012.

Gen. Sedki Sobhi has been appointed new Chief of the Armed Forces.

 

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