Egypt’s interim Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawy yesterday announced that he would back Egyptian military chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for president should the latter run, a day after Egyptian outlet Al-Hayat reported that the army chief would indeed soon quit his post to pursue the presidency.
Sisi came to the decision “in light of wide popular demands, in addition to signs of Arab approval, especially from the Gulf,” an informed source told the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper, in a report published on Tuesday. The source also said that Sisi made his decision after carefully studying expected “Western reactions, especially American,” to his potential candidacy, and saw that the Pentagon welcomed the move.
Sisi is considered an overwhelming favorite to win upcoming presidential elections, and has developed a reputation as a Teflon politician immune from attacks. The Christian Science Monitor assessed in July that “adoration of [Sisi] and deep hatred of the Muslim Brotherhood” were dampening outrage over the deaths of Muslim Brotherhood protesters, describing how the army figure had been “elevat[ed] of General Sisi to almost legendary status.” Months later the Associated Press conveyed a strange incident in which a tape was leaked of Sisi talking about dreams he had experienced in which he seemed destined to be Egypt’s leader. The AP noted that while the tape was “apparently leaked by opponents to embarrass the general,” its effect for most Egyptians was to deepen Sisi’s image “as a spiritual man, in touch with the nation’s traditions.” The AP described the political mood of Sisi’s supporters as one in which “he seems unable to do wrong.”
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