Cairo: Egypt`s military, which is presiding
over the country`s historic transition to democracy, has no
plans to field a candidate for the post of president, the
ruling council chief Hussein Tantawi said on Thursday, scotching
rumours that the Army was interested in the polls.
Tantawi also said that the parliamentary elections,
Egypt`s first since the fall of Hosni Mubarak`s regime, were
postponed at the request of political parties who wanted more
time to prepare for them.
"These are only rumours and we shouldn`t waste time
talking about rumours," Tantawi said, while opening an armed
forces medical complex here.
The statements of the Field Marshall come at a time when
tensions have erupted between the ruling Supreme Council of
Armed Forces and the political forces.
Activists have on a number of occasions protested against
what they perceive as a delay in the transition process and
failure of the regime to bring to justice those responsible
for the kiling of pro-democracy protesters.
A major bloc of political parties led by the Muslim
Brotherhood had recently threatened to boycott the
parliamentary elections, scheduled for September, protesting
against a clause in the electoral law that they feared might
allow loyalists of the Mubarak regime to enter parliament.
Following the protest, the law was amended by the SCAF.
Tantawai sought to clear the air over rumours and
perceptions in the country over the Army`s future role by
saying that the institution does not intend to stay at the
helm of affairs in the country for a long time.
"We will not leave Egypt until we have fulfilled all we
promised and do our duty towards the people," Tantawi said.
"The armed forces have no interest in staying for a long
time," he was quoted as saying by MENA.
Tantawai`s announcement also came on a day when Egypt is
celebrating the anniversary of its 1973 victory over Israel
and the taking back of the Sinai Peninsula.
In a gesture of goodwill the army invited Egyptian
citizens to celebrate the 38th anniversary of the October
victory at the iconic Tahrir square. The invitation was
extended through a statement posted on SCAF`s official
The Field Marshall also stated that the civilians will be
able to receive medical treatment in army hospitals in the
The army in Egypt is an independent establishment with its
own medical and construction sectors and whose budget is never
mentioned in the parliament when discussing the annual budget.
Egyptian presidents since the military coup in 1952 have
been military figures.
A truly democratic country will mean the army will come
under the scrutiny of a civilian government, a fact the army
is expected to resist.