Egypt army Chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi running for presidency

Chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has been given approval from Egypt's top military body to run for presidency. The official news agency MENA reports that Defence Minister Sisi could officially announce his candidacy within the next few hours. In order to stand he will have to resign from his current job within the military.

"The people's trust in Sisi is a call that must be heeded as the free choice of the people" said Supreme Council of Armed Forces.

In July 2013, Sisi made himself known as he assisted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi after mass street protests. The 59-year-old was moved to the position of Field Marshal by the country's interim president Adly Mansour on Monday; a move seen as "paving the way for a presidential bid".

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces had met to "discuss developments on the security front...[and] the peoples' demand for the defence minister to run for the presidency".

The election is due to be held by mid-April and will be followed by parliamentary elections. If Sisi wins, he is expected to influence the outcome of those elections by forming a party that will attract candidates.