Egypt's Army Chief to Run for President

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Egypt's interim Defense Minister Gen. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi will run for president in the upcoming elections, the Kuwaiti al-Seyassah newspaper reported on Thursday.

"Yes, the matter has been decided, and I have no choice but to respond to the call of the Egyptian people," the 59-year-old army chief told the newspaper.

"The call [of the people] has been heard everywhere and I will not reject it. I will seek a renewal of confidence of the people through free voting," he said.

The Egyptian populace endorsed el-Sisi for his key role in deposing Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Morsi was forced to step down in early July after millions of Egyptians took to the streets demanding his resignation.

During his short tenure as president, Morsi sought to impose the Brotherhood's fundamentalist lifestyle on the populace. Although predominantly Muslim, many Egyptians want the freedom to decide how to observe their faith.

Former Israeli ambassador to Egypt Zvi Mazel told CBN News Morsi and his government were in the throes of building an Islamic dictatorship.

"The Muslim Brotherhood was ready to kill 10,000 people," Mazel said. "If Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood would have stayed in power for another two years, the Brotherhood would have taken control of the army and the police, and the Egyptian people would have found themselves in an Iranian situation."

Meanwhile, the government declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group and put Morsi and 12 co-defendants on trial for inciting to violence outside the presidential palace in December 2012, which led to many deaths. 

El-Sisi is expected to resign his post as army chief before officially announcing his candidacy. His enormous popularity will likely make him the country's sixth military leader.

Egypt's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces endorsed his candidacy, calling it "a mandate and an obligation."

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