Egyptian Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi resigned on Wednesday and announced his intention to run for Egypt's presidency.
CAIRO – Egyptian Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi resigned on Wednesday and announced his intention to run for Egypt's presidency.
"This is the last time that I appear in front of you in my military fatigue," al-Sisi said in a televised address.
The resignation came shortly following a meeting of Egypt's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which consists of the country's top brass.
Interim President Adly Mansour attended SCAF meeting, during which army chief-of-staff Sedki Sobhi was promoted to the rank of general, in a move that shows he is likely to replace al-Sisi as Egypt's Defense Minister.
Al-Sisi, who is widely seen as the chief architect of last summer's ouster of elected president Mohamed Morsi, said that he would run for Egypt's presidency.
"I announce my intention to run for president. Your support will give me this great honor," he said.
"I consider myself as a soldier serving this country," al-Sisi said. "I will serve my country wherever its people want me to."
Speculation has been rife in Egypt over al-Sisi's potential presidential candidacy since he led the army's move to oust Morsi last July.
"The last years have showed that nobody can become a president of this country against the will of the people," al-Sisi said. "Nobody can force Egyptians to elect a president they do not want."
For months, al-Sisi has been expected to retire from his top military post so as to become eligible to contest the presidential candidacy.
In more than one public appearance in recent weeks, al-Sisi has hinted at his intention to run for president.
Speculation regarding al-Sisi's presidential candidacy picked up speed in January, when the SCAF voiced its "respect" for "popular demands" that al-Sisi run for president.
The council described these "popular demands" as "a call that should be answered."
- Challenges -
Al-Sisi said that Egypt is facing enormous challenges.
"Egypt faces huge challenges," al-Sisi said. "Millions of youth suffer unemployment. Millions of Egyptians suffer diseases and cannot find medication," he said, vowing to restore security and stability to the country.
Egypt has been plagued by turmoil since the ouster of long-serving president Hosni Mubarak three years ago.
Al-Sis said his country is rich of resources and that it should not keep depending on financial and economic aid from other countries.
"Egyptians deserve to live in dignity, security and freedom," al-Sisi said. "They have the right to have jobs, food, education and housing," he added.
Al-Sisi, however, said that he cannot do "miracles".
"I am sure that we can bring stability, security and hope back to Egypt," he said.
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