World Bulletin/News Desk
Egypt's army chief and Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi has said it's premature to be asked whether he would run in the country's upcoming presidential elections, the first since the military overthrow of president Mohamed Morsi three months ago.
Al-Sisi, widely seen as the man behind Morsi's removal from power, was asked in an interview with daily newspaper Al-Masry al-Youm published on Wednesday whether he would respond to a public demand to run for the top post.
"The issue you are asking about is important, but I think the time is not appropriate yet to ask this question in the light of the challenges and dangers facing the country, which require us not to distract attention away from finalizing the future roadmap," Al-Sisi told the paper.
Calls have grown in recent weeks for the country's top general to run for the next president.
Several web pages and campaigns have recently popped up, particularly on the social-networking site Facebook, touting al-Sisi for president. A petition campaign aiming to the top general to run for presidency announced it garnered 5.5 million signatures pressing him to run.
But, military spokesperson Colonel Ahmed Ali asserted that the general does not intend to run in the elections and that the military will not support a specific candidate in the presidential election, including those with military backgrounds.
The assertion came amid reports that former Chief of Staff Sami Anan and former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, a retired air force general, might run in the presidential polls.Last Mod: 09 Ekim 2013, 10:30