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Egyptian defense minister has high chances to win presidential race - diplomat

February 06, 2014, 18:19 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Nominating a defense minister for presidency "fits political culture of the post-colonial Arab countries, of Egypt in particular" - official

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© AP Photo/Mohammed Abu Zaid

MOSCOW, February 06. /ITAR-TASS/. Chances of Egyptian Defense Minister, Lt. Gen. Abdelfattah Said el-Sisi to win the presidential race “are extremely high”, Head of the Russian Federation Council’s International Affairs Committee and Presidential Special Envoy for Cooperation with African Countries Mikhail Margelov told reporters on Thursday.

Nomination of the defense minister as a candidate for presidency “fits political culture of the post-colonial Arab countries, of Egypt in particular,” Margelov said. “A high-ranking military officer, who controls the army elite and holds quite secular views on the socio-political structure of the country, finds himself in the first position in the state,” the diplomat said.

Margelov recalled that after the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 “military people became the core of the society’s modernization.”

“Today the secular defense minister’s aspirations for presidency are a positive signal, showing that Islamists will be moved aside toughly not only from politics and economy, but also from the society that recently started sliding evidently into archaic regimes,” Margelov said, adding that el-Sisi’s priority was to prevent war between secular and religious parts of the society.

“His chances to win the presidential race are extremely high,” the official said.

“The issue has been resolved. I have no other choice, but to reply to the Egyptian people’s request to run for presidency in the republic. I will not deny their request,” el-Sisi said in an interview with editor-in-chief of Kuwait’s daily Al-Seyassah.

Abdelfattah Said el-Sisi became incredibly popular in Egypt last summer, when the armed forces under his leadership overthrew president Mohamed Morsi, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

In February 2011 amid nationwide riots then-President Hosni Mubarak stepped down and empowered the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. The army ruled Egypt through a transition period until it handed over powers to the civil authorities - a candidate from Islamists, Mohamed Morsi, who won the presidential election. In August 2012 the new head of state adopted the Constitutional Declaration, a temporary Constitution, dissolving the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and announcing retirement of Defense Minister, field marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi Soliman. El-Sisi replaced him on this post.

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