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Army chief Sisi, Egypt's new icon

Army chief Sisi, Egypt's new icon

Afp, Cairo

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Egypt's army chief who overthrew president Mohamed Morsi and was promoted yesterday to field marshal, has become a nationalistic icon likened by supporters to the charismatic Gamal Abdel Nasser.
Adly Mansour, who was installed as interim president by the army, issued a decree yesterday naming Sisi to the military's highest rank.
Hosni Mubarak, overthrown in a popular 2011 uprising, had appointed Sisi as his military intelligence chief, the youngest officer promoted to such a post.
When Morsi later appointed him defence minister, ironically because he doubted the loyalty of Sisi's predecessor, the Islamist's opponents whispered that Sisi was chosen because he too was an Islamist.
Under Sisi's command, the military issued an ultimatum to Morsi in his last days at the presidential palace, emboldening millions of protesters who took to the streets demanding the Islamist's overthrow.
At the same time, Sisi attended a public and bellicose address by Morsi aimed at his opponents, smiling as the president held forth for hours unaware that the general in the front row would jail him days later on July 3.
Since then, Sisi has become the most popular political figure in the country, often compared to Nasser by his admirers who have pushed for his candidacy in a presidential election scheduled within months.
He is expected to announce his candidacy soon, but only after he is satisfied he will be able to rule smoothly for the next eight years, stabilising the country and lifting the economy, according to aides.

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