Egypt army chief hinges presidential bid on 'popular demand'
CAIRO (AFP) - Egypt's army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi stepped closer on Saturday to confirming a widely anticipated presidential bid, saying he would stand in elections if there was a popular demand, state media reported.
Sisi is easily the most popular leader in Egypt after toppling Islamist president Mohamed Mursi in July, and military officers have told AFP he had support within the army to stand in the election due to take place later this year.
His comments come just days ahead of a referendum on a new constitution, the first in a series of polls the military-installed government says will restore elected rule following Mursi's ouster.
"If I nominate myself, there must be a popular demand, and a mandate from my army," the state newspaper Al-Ahram quoted him as saying at a conference with Egyptian officials.