Egypt army supports Field Marshal Sisi to run for president

The former general has been popular in Egypt after he deposed President Mohammed Morsi

Egypt’s military has backed its powerful defence minister, Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, to run for president, state media report.

Field Marshal Sisi overthrew Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically-elected president, July 2013.

After deposing Mr. Morsi, the then General Sisi installed the current interim president, Ali Mansour.

Despite the civilian government, Mr. Sisi is widely seen as the hand behind the government, helping with a violent crackdown that killed thousands of Muslim Brotherhood protesters last year.

Mr. Sisi hinted last year he may stand for the top job, and many believe he would win easily given his popularity since moving against the Muslim Brotherhood.

Earlier, the interim president promoted him from general to field marshal.

Egypt announced weekend the presidential elections will come first in April 2014, ahead of parliamentary polls.

“The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces by consensus mandated the defence minister (Sisi) to stand in presidential elections,” the official MENA news agency reported.

He is expected to accept the nomination and resign from his military position within days.

Under the constitution, approved by a referendum aster the ouster of Mr. Morsi, the president may serve two four-year terms and can be impeached by parliament. Islam remains the state religion – but freedom of belief is absolute, giving some protection to minorities.

The state also guarantees “equality between men and women”, and political parties may not be formed based on “religion, race, gender or geography”.

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