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Egypt's army chief el-Sisi stands down, seeks presidency

Egypt’s army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has tendered his resignation. In a television address he announced his intention to run for the presidency.

Sisi announced Wednesday in a recorded television address that he had quit the military to run for the presidency, vowing to rid Egypt of "terrorism" nearly nine months after he toppled democratically elected leader Mohammed Morsi.

"Today, I stand before you for the last time in a military uniform, after deciding to end my service as defense minister and commander of the armed forces," he said dressed in his military uniform.

"With all modesty, I nominate myself for the presidency of Egypt…I will continue to fight everyday for an Egypt free of terrorism," he added.

The former army chief faces no serious competition in the election which is expected to take place in May. Under Egyptian law, only civilians are allowed to run for president.

Earlier in the day, Sisi met with the country's top military leaders where he officially tendered his resignation, state media reported.

Interim President Adly Mansour joined the meeting late, after returning from an Arab League summit in Kuwait, the military said.

During the conference, Mansour's office said the president replaced Sisi with army chief-of-staff Lieutenant General Sedki Sobhi.

Before meeting with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, Sisi collected his belongings from his defense ministry office, state-owned al-Ahram newspaper reported on its website.

He is a popular political figure in the country after overthrowing freely elected Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July.

jlw/dr (Reuters, AP, AFP, dpa)