Mar.27 - Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the general who ousted Egypt's first freely elected leader, declares his candidacy for a presidential election he is expected to win easily. Sarah Toms reports.
This is the general who ousted Egypt's first freely elected leader. Now Abdel Fattqah al-Sisi has announced he's resigned as chief of the military to run for president himself. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) FORMER FIELD MARSHALL ABDEL FATTAH AL-SISI SAYING: "Today, I stand before you in my military uniform for the last time for I have decided to retire my role as the Army's Chief Field Marshal and as Minister of Defense. I have spent my whole life as a soldier serving this country and serving its hopes and aspirations and so I will continue. This is a very significant moment for me - the first time I wore the military uniform was in 1970 as 15-year cadet in the Air Force High School, almost 45 years ago. I am honoured of wearing this uniform for defending my country. These recent years of our nation's history have conclusively shown that no one can become president of this nation against the will of the people or short of their support. Never can anyone force Egyptians to vote for a president they do not want - those days are over. Therefore, I am before you humbly stating my intention to run for the presidency of the Arab Republic of Egypt." Sisi led the overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in July after mass opposition protests. The move comes as no surprise. He's expected to win the presidency given his popularity -- and the lack of any serious rivals. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) RETIREE, AL-ARABY, SAYING: "I am happy he is running. It is his right to be president and it is his right to be in charge of the nation. He worked hard for it. He moved Egypt to the right stage. We all support al-Sisi and God willing he will be successful." But his opponents hold him responsible for widespread human rights abuses and many fear he wants a return to authoritarianism. His announcement came hours after Egypt's interim authorities ordered 919 Brotherhood members to stand trial.