Egypt to have elected leader by June, says interim president

CAIRO (AFP) - Interim president Adly Mansour said Egypt will have an elected leader in 21/2 months, in an interview published on Friday by the state-owned Al-Ahram daily.

The presidential election is seen as a major milestone in a transitional roadmap outlined by the military-installed authorities for a return to democratic rule after the army ousted Islamist president Mohamed Mursi in July.

Army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has made no secret of his intention to stand in the election - which is scheduled to be held sometime this spring - but has yet to announce his candidacy officially.

Since he announced Mursi's ouster on July 3, Gen Sisi has emerged as Egypt's most popular political figure and a nationalist icon, with supporters viewing him as a tough leader who can restore stability after three years of unrest following the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.

"I am telling you with all confidence that two and a half months from now Egypt will have an elected president and I will hand him the decision-making power," Mr Mansour told Al-Ahram.

In January, Egyptian voters approved by 98.1 per cent a new Constitution that grants the military extensive powers but lacks much of the Islamist-inspired wording of the 2012 charter adopted under Mursi.

Mursi, Egypt's first democratically elected president and the first civilian to hold the post, was ousted following massive street protests against his turbulent single year in power.