(MENAFN - Arab News) Cairo: abdel-fattah el-sissi egypt's former military chief who is poised to win the presidency in elections later this month said he has plans to make improvements in people's living conditions within two years but will step down if they rise up against him — without waiting for the army to remove him.
el-sissi was speaking with the emirates-based sky news arabia giving his first televised interview as a presidential candidate to foreign media. the first part of the interview was aired sunday.
riding on a wave of nationalist fervor the 59-year old el-sissi faces a single rival in the may 26-27 vote. the media and supporters tout him as the nation's savior for ousting the elected president muhammad mursi in july following massive rallies against him and a rising specter of civilian infighting.
'do you think i will wait for a third time? if people go down to protest i will say i am at your service" el-sissi said. 'i can't wait until the army asks me to (step down) i can't be like this. i fear for my country. i fear for the people."
this was el-sissi's second televised interview. last week he gave his first interview to two egyptian private tv stations. he has so far made no street appearances campaigning because of security concerns.
el-sissi repeated his criticism of mursi's term in office and the brotherhood's rise to power saying the group maintained a parallel leadership and was concerned about amassing power and not solving the country's problems. he said the group must reassess its ideology.
el-sissi said the brotherhood has lost the trust of egyptians. 'it is their problem not mine. they need to reevaluate themselves" he said accusing the group of turning a political problem into a religious war.
he said he would not allow a religious leadership as he said the brotherhood tried to present itself to exist in parallel to the state and its religious institutions.
'it is not an animosity it is not revenge between me and them" he said.
meanwhile egypt's top security official has sought to build claims that the muslim brotherhood is backing terrorism showing alleged confessions of militants saying the received funds from members of the group to attack police and the military.
interior minister mohammed ibrahim aired the confessions at a press conference monday saying authorities are in 'decisive stage in curbing terrorism" after they successfully uncovered 40 'terrorist cells" since april. in the confessions several of the militants said they had fought in syria's civil war before returning to egypt to join the militant campaign.