Last updated: 5 October, 2011

Egypt’s Tantawi says no army candidate for president

Egypt’s military ruler Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi on Wednesday denied rumours that the army planned to field a candidate in the next presidential elections, the official MENA news agency reported.

There has been much speculation as to whether an army man would be the next president, particularly after increasing public appearances by Tantawi, including one on a Cairo street in civilian clothes which raised questions about his political intentions.

“These are rumours that should not be considered. We must not waste time talking about such rumours,” Tantawi said in response to a question on whether the military would field a candidate in the next elections.

“We are not a party to the political process, we are working to hand over power as soon as possible,” Tantawi said.

The ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which Tantawi heads, has yet to set a date for the presidential election.

Parliamentary polls will kick off on November 28 and are to take place over four months.

The military council has come in for criticism from activists for its handling of the transition from the authoritarian rule of Hosni Mubarak, since the veteran strongman’s overthrow in February.

SCAF has vowed to hand over to civilian rule.

Tantawi’s stroll in downtown Cairo last week, in a business suit and with no personal security in tow, unleashed a torrent of jokes and commentary.

That’s “Tantawi handing power to ‘civilian rule’,” wrote Adel on Twitter.