He's been Egypt's de-facto leader for months, and now Field Marshall Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi wants to make it official.
The Egyptian army's leader said in a televised address Wednesday he would resign his post as general and run for president in the nation's upcoming elections, which he is already heavily favored to win. (Via Euronews)
In his speech, Al-Sisi vowed to put an end to what he sees as terrorist acts from his Islamist political opponents. Still, he seems to realize Egypt's critical state and he admitted he could not perform "miracles." (Via Al Jazeera)
Al-Sisi led the effort that took Mohammed Morsi out of power last July. Morsi was the first democratically-elected president in Egypt's history, but by last summer public opinion had turned against him and his Muslim Brotherhood. (Via Voice of America)
An election win for Al-Sisi would mean yet another military leader for Egypt, a country ruled exclusively by military men over the past few decades with the exception of Morsi. What's more, David Kirkpatrick at The New York Times notes, "Over the last 62 years, military officers have removed all four heads-of-state who did not die in office, including President Hosni Mubarak in 2011."
The protests from Brotherhood members and other Islamists following Morsi's arrest have been a major source of unrest and were met with a violent crackdown from Al-Sisi's army. (Via ABC)
Many Muslim Brotherhood supporters were killed in those protests. Morsi himself could face a death sentence for inciting violence. And Monday, an Egyptian court sentenced 529 Brotherhood supporters to death in a single mass trial. All this has international observers very concerned.
That includes U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. In a statement Wednesday, he urged Egypt to reverse the ruling, saying "Anything less would dishonor the bravery of all who sacrificed their lives for democratic values." (Via U.S. Department of State)
Al-Sisi will have at least one challenger in Egypt's presidential election: leftist candidate Hamdeen Sabahi who came in third in 2012's race.