The most powerful man in Egypt has thrown his military fatigues aside to run for president. Field Marshal Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi, who led the overthrow of elected President Mohamed Morsi last summer, announced on TV late yesterday that he was stepping down as military chief to answer "the demand of a wide range of Egyptians who have called on me to run for this honorable office," reports the BBC, which notes that his popularity and lack of serious rivals makes him very likely to win elections expected this summer.
Morsi's year in office was the only time since 1952 that Egypt has had a leader not from a military background. Supporters say al-Sisi is the only one who can end the country's turmoil, but opponents fear he will lead the country back to authoritarianism. "His running will not achieve stability in Egypt. It's true he has many supporters who love him or even worship him. But on the other hand, there are those who hate Gen. al-Sisi and hold him responsible for the blood that has been shed," a senior member of a Muslim Brotherhood-led coalition tells the AP. The announcement came days after 529 Morsi supporters were sentenced to death and 683 more were put on trial. (Read more Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi stories.)