Egypt’s Field Marshall Abdel Fattah al-Sisi says he has resigned as defence minister and army chief and will stand for the country’s presidency.
The widely-expected announcement came in a televised statement on Wednesday. No date for the election has been set but al-Sisi is expected to win it easily.
The news comes amid fresh signs of the instability that has raged since he led last July’s military overthrow of Egypt’s first freely-elected president, Mohamed Mursi, after mass protests against his rule.
At least one student was killed in clashes at Cairo University as demonstrators denounced death sentences handed down on Monday to 529 members of Mursi’s outlawed Islamist group.
There was also violence in Alexandria, with rallies held at universities nationwide.
In his statement, al-Sisi said Egypt was threatened by terrorists and that he would work to make it a country ‘free of fear’.
Our correspondent in Cairo, Mohammed Shaikhibrahim, says there are almost daily clashes there – the degree of unrest depending on political and judicial decisions against Muslim Brotherhood supporters.