CAIRO, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) -- The Egyptian Supreme Council for Armed Forces on Monday urged Defense Minister Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, also the army chief, to run for president in respect of the people 's demand.
"The people's trust in Sisi is a call that must be responded," the council said in a statement said, leaving it up to Sisi to act according to his patriotic conscience and take the responsibility called on by the people.
"The council respects in all cases the higher will of the people," the statement added. "The people's orders and the nation' s needs must be met."
The statement said Sisi thanked the military leadership for allowing him "the right to respond to the call of duty."
Official news agency MENA said the top army leader will announce his decision on whether or not to contest presidency in the coming hours.
According to an earlier announcement by interim President Adly Mansour, Egypt will hold the presidential elections before the parliamentary polls. The leader also ordered the election commission to start proper procedures within 90 days, a period some critics say is too short for other candidates to campaign.
As Egypt's newly-approved constitution stipulates that only a civilian can run for president, the military council has agreed to al-Sisi's resignation from the body and has elected Sobhy Saleh, another member, to replace him as defense minister, according to state-run Ahram Online, which quoted a military source as saying.
Sisi, who was appointed by former president Mohamed Morsi as defense minister and chief of the army, overthrew the Islamist leader on July 3 in response to nationwide protests against him for his bad performance during his one-year rule.
Since then, Sisi has been enjoying a surge in popularity among the Egyptians and dozens of campaigns have been launched to urge him to run for president.
However, no one has yet formally announced a presidency bid, while MENA said the registration for the presidential election will open on Feb. 18.
Tamarud campaign, a grassroots group spearheaded the mass protests against Morsi's rule, urged Sisi to resign as defense minister and take the presidential bid.
Abdel Ghafar Shoker, vice president of the National Council for Human Rights, said the military statement "threw the ball in the court of the people" and implied people's will is above all.
He urged other presidential candidates to come forward so that Egypt could witness a competitive presidential race.
Following the army statement, hundreds of people took to the streets in downtown Cairo chanting in support of Sisi, TV footage showed.
However, the Egyptian Social Democratic party said it won't endorse Sisi as a presidential candidate until it has studied his candidacy program as it will do to other nominees.
The party asked the state to stick to the criteria of elections, competition and democracy based on equal opportunities.
The ultra conservative Nour party, the second biggest party in the former parliament after the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, said Sisi has the right to run for the president as all legitimate Egyptians, pledging logistic support for him that could be applied on the ground.
CAIRO, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- Egypt's interim President Adli Mansour announced Sunday that presidential elections would be held before parliamentary polls, after hearing opinions from different parties.
In a televised speech, Mansour said the decision has taken into account "appeals from a majority of political parties and forces" during his nationwide talks with representatives from different groups. Full story
CAIRO, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- Cairo Criminal Court adjourned on Wednesday the trial of ousted president Mohamed Morsi over inciting killing protesters to Feb. 1 due to the bad weather that prevented his transport to the court, the state TV reported.
Morsi, who is detained in prison some 60 kilometers from the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, due in court on Wednesday at the Cairo Police Academy for the second session of his trial over charges of inciting the killing of protesters outside the presidential palace in Cairo during his rule in December 2012, which left at least seven people dead. Full story