State-owned daily Al-Ahram reported that Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will resign on Wednesday, in preparation for his candidacy for the upcoming presidential elections, according to a military source.
Sisi had convened a meeting of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) on Wednesday in order to announce his resignation, the source said.
The source added that Sisi had already emptied his office and called the meeting to inform SCAF of his decision.
A couple of hours later, interim President Adly Mansour issued a decree promoting Major General Sedky Sobhy (58 years old) to colonel general, taking the place of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (59 years old).
In August 2013, the then-President Mohamed Morsi promoted both Sisi and Sobhy within the ranks of the armed forces.
Mansour, who headed the delegation to the Arab League summit in Kuwait, returned to Cairo on Wednesday and joined the closed-door meeting of Egypt’s top army generals.
State TV channels reported that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces concluded its session. However, no official statement has yet been issued regarding Sisi’s presidential bid.
London-based newspaper Al-Hayat reported that Sisi would bid a final farewell to his fellow military leaders during the meeting and that the council would make final decisions regarding military procedures to be adopted after his resignation.
After SCAF approves Sisi’s resignation, it would also have to be approved by interim President Adly Mansour before the military chief can finally take off his military suit and venture into civilian politics.
This would be the last step in what has been a slow and extremely gradual process after Sisi has skirted around announcing his presidential bid for months.
The military had formally supported Sisi’s bid in January in a statement announcing that the military “regard with utmost respect the wishes of the people to nominate him for the presidency.”
Sisi responded by thanking the military for allowing him to respond to the call of duty, without confirming or denying his intention to run.
Several campaigns were launched after Sisi forcibly removed former President Mohamed Morsi from power in July, asking him to run for president. Several leaked recordings indicated Sisi’s intentions to run, however he never confirmed it formally in public.
Another military man, former Chief of Staff Sami Anan, withdrew from the presidential race earlier this month, saying that he made his decision in light of the critical situation Egypt is now facing.
Sisi is praised by his supporters for his decisive military character, which they say is needed in order to take Egypt out of its current security and economic crisis. Sisi often addressed the nation from military platforms.
Since the removal of Morsi, the security situation in Egypt has continued to deteriorate with frequent attacks on police and military locations and several terrorist acts targeting civilians.