Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said he will stick to the constitution and not seek a third time as Egypt’s president, as he promised that elections will take place in March or April next year.
“It doesn’t suit me as a president to stay one more day against the will of the Egyptians. This is not talk for TV, those are principles I embrace and am keen on,” he told CNBC over the weekend.
The interview was broadcast online late on Monday.
Under the constitution, Egyptian presidents can only renew a four-year term once – meaning a maximum eight years in office.
In February, pro-Sisi MP Ismail Nasreddin bid to extend the presidential term to six years, but withdrew the proposal several months later.
“There is no president who will sit in the chair without the will of the Egyptian people,” Sisi told CNBC. “We will not interfere with [the constitution] … I am with preserving two four-year terms.”
He came to power after the 2013 ouster of democratically-elected Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood.
A former minister of defence and commander of the armed forces, Sisi has previously sidestepped questions relating to his political ambitions.
But an interview with Slate magazine ahead of the 2014 election, Sisi refused to answer whether he would run for the presidency.
After failing to answer the question “Are you going to run?” a first time, Sisi responded on the second occasion: “You just can’t believe that there are people who don’t aspire for authority.”
In the end, he did run and won a landslide victory in the 2014 election, securing more than 90 percent of votes cast.
The constitution was drafted after Morsi’s ouster, with the assembly keen to limit presidential powers.
Under previous administrations, the constitution allowed for an indefinite number of terms.
Hosni Mubarak, for instance, who was famously toppled in the 2011 uprising, spend 30 years in power.
Source: Al Jazeera