Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who was the army general who was instrumental in ousting the first freely elected president of Egypt, declared on Wednesday he was running for president in an election analysts suspect him to win in a landslide.
Sisi ousted Mohamed Morsi on July 3, 2013 after mass street protests against the Muslim Brotherhood president’s rule. Sisi emerged from a group of people as more influential than others in the interim government that since that time has governed the country.
Sisi announced in an address on television that he was humbly stating his decision to run for president of Egypt. He said only the people’s support would grant him the honor of being Egypt’s president.
If Sisi were elected it would return the country to the day when Egypt had military leaders, a pattern that Morsi’s rein in office of one year interrupted following his 2012 election victory in the first democratic election for Egypt’s presidency.
Among those that support him, Sisi is hugely popular. Many look at him as a strong person needed in order to bring stability to a country that is in crisis. However, by his Islamist opposition he is considered the mastermind in last year’s coup that ousted Morsi who had been freely elected.
In fatigues, the general vowed he would fight the terrorist threat that is facing his country, a reference of the attacks by militants that have escalated since Morsi was ousted.
He said it was his last day wearing a military uniform, but he would maintain his fight each day to achieve an Egypt that is free of terrorism and fear.
The general was required to resign as the defense minister and head of the army in order to run for the presidency.
Sisi, seeking to level off the high expectations, warned he would not be able to perform any miracles in Egypt, which has 85 million people and is deep in poverty.
Prior to making his address on television, the country’s state TV showed footage of the general jogging amongst his troops. State and privately owned media have lionized Sisi since they are hostile towards Islamists.
Sisi said everyone needs to be honest with themselves as the country faces multiple challenges including a weak economy and high unemployment.