World

Path Cleared for Egypt’s Military Chief to Run for President

[Wall Street Journal]

In this Friday, Sept. 20, 2013 file photo, Egypt's Defense Minister Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, center, Egyptian Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi, right, and army's Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Sedki Sobhi, left, attend the funeral of Giza Police Gen. Nabil Farrag in Cairo, Egypt. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)
In this Friday, Sept. 20, 2013 file photo, Egypt’s Defense Minister Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, center, Egyptian Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi, right, and army’s Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Sedki Sobhi, left, attend the funeral of Giza Police Gen. Nabil Farrag in Cairo, Egypt. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File

CAIRO—Egypt’s top military leader, Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, moved closer to succeeding the Islamist president that appointed him and that he then ousted when the high military council blessed a Sisi candidacy.

Monday’s move came hours after Egypt’s interim government promoted the military leader to field marshal from general.

Observers said both moves appeared orchestrated to pave the way for Field Marshal Sisi’s candidacy in a vote in which few other candidates have expressed interest in contesting. The election is set to occur by mid-April.

Field Marshal Sisi didn’t appear on camera, nor did he offer to resign from his position as defense minister and head of the armed forces—a step that the new constitution requires if he hopes to assume the nation’s highest civilian office.

The moves come a day after Egypt’s military-backed government said it would hold presidential elections before a parliamentary vote, a reversal that stands to give the next leader considerable legislative authority.

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