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Sisi announces bid for presidency

Updated: 2014-02-07 08:08
By Agencies in Cairo ( China Daily)

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 said on Thursday.

The widely expected move is almost certain to increase political tensions and anger Islamist militants, who have stepped up attacks on the state since Sisi ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi in July after mass protests against him.

It will also deepen concerns that military men will again dominate Egypt.

The newspaper, Al-Seyassah, quoted 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 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."

But a statement from Egypt's military spokesman later said the Kuwaiti newspaper "misinterpreted" remarks from Sisi.

"What was published by the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Seyassah is nothing but journalistic interpretations that are not direct declarations from Field Marshal Sisi," army spokesman Colonel Ahmed Ali said in a statement.

And the spokesman did not deny that Sisi would run for president.

Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood movement accuse Sisi of staging a coup and undermining democratic gains made since a popular uprising ousted Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

After deposing Morsi, Sisi unveiled a political road map meant to lead to fair elections.

But under his watch, security forces have mounted one of the fiercest crackdowns against the Brotherhood and stifled dissent.

About 1,000 Brotherhood members have been killed in the streets, top leaders have been jailed and the group has been declared a terrorist organization.

The Brotherhood, which says it is a peaceful organization, has been largely driven underground, but it is resilient and is likely to keep challenging Sisi.