KUWAIT CITY: Egypt’s army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said in comments published in a Kuwait paper on Thursday he has decided to run in the presidential election scheduled by mid-April.
“Yes, the matter has been decided and I have no choice but to respond to the call of the Egyptian people,” Sisi told Kuwait’s Al-Seyassah newspaper when asked if he had decided to contest the presidency.
“The call [of the people]has been heard everywhere and I will not reject it. I will seek a renewal of confidence of the people through free voting,” Sisi said in the interview.
Sisi has granted interviews to the newspaper in the past, in which he discussed his presidential ambitions.
The report comes a week after the country’s top military body endorsed Field Marshal Sisi’s candidacy for an election, which he is assured to win after ousting democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi in July.
Sisi, wildly popular for over–throwing the Islamist Morsi, is now expected to resign as army chief before he officially becomes a candidate in the election scheduled to be held by mid-April.
A victory for the 59-year-old Sisi, who will have to give up his military uniform to stand for election, would continue a tradition of Egyptian presidents drawn from the armed forces since the overthrow of the monarchy in 1952.
Sisi told the daily he would seek help from the people to “cure Egypt of its chronic illness which has deteriorated in recent years”.
Sisi, who is still defense minister and head of the powerful military council, warned there was no quick fix for Egypt’s woes and he would not try to delude Egyptians.
“We will not play with their dreams or tell them that we have a magical wand,” to resolve the country’s massive problems, he said.
The security situation in Egypt, he added however, was improving as “today is better than yesterday and tomorrow will be better”.
Should he be elected, he said, he would call for a pan-Arab alliance to fight against growing “terrorism” in the region.
“We will call for an Arab union based on mutual cooperation between countries suffering from terrorism so we can wage a common war against it,” Sisi said.
“I believe the Gulf Cooperation Council states and other countries will welcome the union the aim of which, as I said, will be to liquidate black terror.”
GCC states Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have been the main financial backers of Egypt since Morsi was pushed aside.