Egypt’s Supreme Council of Armed Forces has approved General Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi to run for presidency, Egyptian state media reported Monday.
The authorization follows interim President Adly Mansour’s promotion of al-Sisi from Defense Minister to Field Marshal on Monday and boosts the likelihood al-Sisi will run for the post.
The green light comes despite previous claims from al-Sisi and the military that the general had no plans to seek the presidency.
Sisi was installed in a top Army post after a coup last summer saw President Mohamed Morsi—the winning candidate in nationwide elections and member of the Muslim Brotherhood—pushed from power.
The coup came amid mass protests against Morsi, who was blasted for violating human rights and steamrolling democracy.
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Monday’s announcement closely follows the third anniversary of Egypt’s pro-democracy revolution in 2011 that swept Morsi’s predecessor and notorious strongman, Hosni Mubarak, from his seat of authoritarian rule that had lasted nearly three decades.
Saturday’s anniversary was marked this year with a fierce crackdown by the military-backed government and clashes that left at least 54 people dead over the weekend.
The violence follows escalating government violence against suspected dissenters in what critics charge is a fresh resurgence of the Mubarak-era brutal security state. This repression includes the jailing of journalists, key players in the initial anti-Mubarak revolts, and people suspected of being aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood.
As journalist Sharif Abdel Kouddous writes in The Nation, “Al-Sisi’s star has steadily risen in the context of his ‘war on terror,'” which the SCAF has executed with a bloody campaign against suspected Muslim Brotherhood supporters.
As Kouddous explains, “Since the military ouster of elected president Mohamed Morsi last July, followed by the brutal crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood, the security establishment has emerged re-empowered, reinvigorated and out for revenge, cracking down on its opponents with unprecedented severity.”
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