For his supporters, he is Egypt’s saviour – the right man to bring stability to a country in crisis.
But the Islamist opposition reviles General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who has quit the military to run for president, in an election he is expected to easily win.
“We all love al-Sisi and we want him as president,” said one man in Cairo. “The issue is not who leads the country. It’s about us being united. We must take care of each other.”
But al-Sisi’s candidacy is rejected by another man who told euronews that he does not want power in the hands of a soldier.
“I prefer a civilian candidate, not linked to the military. That way, if we have problems in the future, the army will protect us. It will be neutral.”
Al-Sisi would be the latest in a line of rulers drawn from the military. It was only briefly broken during the year in office of Islamist Mohamed Mursi, Egypt’s first freely-elected leader, who al-Sisi, as head of the army, ousted last July.
Our correspondent in Cairo, Mohammed Shaikhibrahim, said: “While al-Sisi has now emerged from the army to declare his candidacy in the presidential election, the most important question remains: can he fulfil the aspirations of a population which has paid dearly amid all the political turmoil of the past three years.”