Egypt's army chief and Defence Minister Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi said Saturday that he would run for president only "if the people demand it and the army gives him a mandate", a media report said.
During a symposium held by the Armed Forces, Sisi told attendees that "I cannot turn my back on Egypt", Xinhua reported while explaining that the coming stage is "difficult" and it requires solidarity of all Egyptians to build their nation. He called on all Egyptians to take part in a referendum on the country's new draft constitution slated for Jan 14-15, stressing that the charter represents "one-third of the future roadmap".
He also noted that a low turnout in the upcoming constitution vote would "embarrass" him and the army.
The military, led by Sisi, ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in early July, 2013 after mass protests against Morsi's one- year rule and his Brotherhood group.