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Egypt’s SisiPoised to Announce Presidency Bid

File photo of Egypt's Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi seen during a news conference in Cairo

CAIRO- Three years after the “Arab Spring” toppled Hosni Mubarak, a secretive field marshal with a cult-like following is expected to announce his candidacy for the presidency of Egypt ahead of elections which he is expected to win easily.

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has come under pressure to run from members of the public who reject the Islamist government he toppled last year, and from the armed forces who want a president who can face down growing political violence.

He has calculated that he can win the votes of those who backed Mohamed Mursi for president in 2012 simply because he represented change from the era of former air force commander Mubarak, ousted in the revolutions that swept the Arab world.

But despite his present popularity, Sisi has no record as a democrat and has shown himself willing to use deadly force against those who disagree with him.

Sisi has trodden a careful path to power since overthrowing Mursi, Egypt’s first freely elected president, last July.It’s the kind of measured advance he has made all his life, from his childhood in the dirt lanes of Cairo’s Gamaliya district, to the highest rank in one of the largest armies in the Middle East. On Monday, the presidency announced he was promoted to field marshal from general.

Friends and family speak of him of as a man of few words and decisive action.”He loved to listen and carefully study what was said. After he heard many opinions then he would suddenly strike,” said his cousin Fathi al-Sisi, who runs a shop selling handicrafts.”Abdel Fattah had one thing in mind: work, the military, rising to the top.”

The world knew little of Sisi before he appeared on television on July 3 and announced the removal of Mursi after mass protests against the Islamist leader.It was Mursi who appointed Sisi army chief of staff and defense minister in August 2012, perhaps his gravest mistake.

Mursi, a Muslim Brotherhood leader, wanted a young general to reduce the influence of the military old guard who had served under the autocratic Mubarak before the 2011 revolution.His reputation for being a pious Muslim may have also appealed to Mursi.

But while Mursi appeared deaf to criticism, Sisi was tuned in to the rising discontent on the streets over the Brotherhood’s mismanagement. Eventually he issued an ultimatum to the man who appointed him: Bow to the demands of protesters within 48 hours or the military will act. (Reuters)

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