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Egypt`s army chief may announce presidency bid this week

Last Updated: Monday, January 20, 2014 - 00:44

Cairo: Egypt`s powerful army chief Gen Abdel Fattah El-Sisi is likely to announce his presidency bid this week after over 98 per cent people backed a new draft constitution in a referendum billed as a popular endorsement of president Mohammed Morsi`s overthrow.

Sisi, 59, intends to make the announcement on or before the January 25 anniversary of the revolution in order to prevent any unexpected violence by Morsi`s supporters, Asharq al-Awsat newspaper quoted sources as saying.
In his speech, Sisi will explain that he is running in response to popular pressure, they said.
The sources said they have asked Sisi to announce his candidacy for presidency in the next couple days to reassure Egyptians.

Sources said the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces is likely to hold a meeting to resolve the issue of Sisi`s candidacy. The army is likely to bless Sisi`s intention to run for presidency, the paper said.

In remarks to the Saudi daily Okaz, Amr Moussa, who was a former candidate in the 2012 presidential election and head of the 50-member Constitutional Committee, described Sisi as "the most popular figure in Egypt today."
"He will be the front runner in the race to win the presidential election. He has a great chance of winning this election," he said.

The Supreme Electoral Committee (SEC) yesterday announced that the newly drafted national charter was approved by 98.1 per cent of voters, according to state-run media.

According to SEC chief Nabil Salib, the turnout for the poll was 38.6 per cent of the 20.5 million registered voters, in comparison to 32 per cent during the 2012 referendum.

The new charter would replace the one approved under Morsi, who was toppled by the military in July following mass protests demanding his ouster.

Morsi`s Muslim Brotherhood had called for anti-government protests and boycotted the referendum, seeing it as part of a coup against the freely-elected leader.

The new charter, drafted by a liberal-dominated committee appointed by the government, would ban political parties based on religion, give women equal rights and protect the status of minority Christians.

The constitution also gives the military special status by allowing it to select its own candidate for the job of defence minister for the next eight years and empowering military tribunals to try civilians.

First Published: Monday, January 20, 2014 - 00:44

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