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Egypt’s military chief Sisi quits to run for presidency

Field Marshal Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has announced that he has resigned as Egypt’s military chief in order to stand for the presidency.

In a widely expected announcement, he said on state TV he was appearing “in my military uniform for the last time”.

Field Marshal Sisi led the overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in July after mass opposition protests.

Correspondents say he is likely to win the presidency, given his popularity and the lack of any serious rivals.

To his supporters, the 59-year-old former army chief is a saviour who can end the political turmoil dogging Egypt since 2011 when a popular uprising ended Hosni Mubarak’s three decades of one-man rule.

But his opponents hold him responsible for what human rights groups say are widespread abuses, and fear that he wants a return to authoritarianism.

His announcement came hours after Egypt’s interim authorities ordered the prosecution of 919 suspected Islamists and days after 528 were sentenced to death in a separate case.

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