Sisi supporters launch petition for presidency
CAIRO - The Associated PressA group of professionals and former army officers launched Sept. 16 a petition urging Egypt’s military chief, who ousted the country’s first freely elected leader, to run for president, highlighting the yearning for a strongman to take charge after nearly three years of turmoil.
The campaign for Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi is propped up by a pervasive personality cult, based on his success in uprooting an Islamist ruling elite. Still, there has been a faint pushback from new political groups calling for a civilian leader for the nascent democracy -despite little public tolerance for criticism of the military and a deepening sense of nationalism.
In his one major political speech after removing Islamist President Mohammed Morsi on July 3, el-Sissi said he had no political aspirations. Soon after, a military spokesman denied reports the general would run for office. But the spokesman added that nothing would stop el-Sissi from doing so if he retired.
The clamor for him to run in presidential elections expected in early 2014 has only grown, demonstrating the dramatic seesawing Egypt has undergone since the 2011 revolution toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak, a former military man.