Tantawi denies military intends to field presidential candidates

Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, head of the ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF), denied Wednesday that the military intends to field candidates in upcoming presidential elections.

“These are rumors,” Tantawi told reporters, urging them not to waste their time.

Tantawi made the statement during a ceremony to open several projects at the medical center in Kobri al-Qobba, his third public event in less than a week.

State media channels in Egypt reported saying these events surround the celebration of the 6th of October, which marks Egypt's surprise attack on Israel during the 1973 Arab-Israeli War.

Earlier in the week Tantawi opened petrochemical factories run by the armed forces in Fayoum and a military-constructed road linking Helwan to Assiut.

Informed military sources said the medical projects will serve families of armed forces officers and civilians.

Tantawi is likely to attend celebrations organized by the Morale Affairs Department at Galaa theater Wednesday, according to the sources.

The military commander also placed flowers on the armed forces memorial and the tomb of deceased President Anwar Sadat in Nasser City.

Tantawi’s consecutive tours have prompted speculation that he will seek a political role in Egypt's next government.

Since the fall of the monarchy in 1952, Egypt's presidency has been occupied by military figures Mohamed Naguib, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Sadat and finally Hosni Mubarak, who resigned in February following popular protests after ruling for three decades.

This history and the SCAF's stewardship of Egypt's transition period have created doubts that the SCAF is serious about handing power to civilians. Tantawi's appearances in public and on state TV also bring to mind Mubarak's own appearances.

Following Mubarak's resignation, the military council said it would assume power for six months, during which it was supposed to hold parliamentary and presidential elections. Elections have been delayed several times and public anger is rising over SCAF decisions that some say are as oppressive as the former regime's tactics.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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