Egypt's Sissi, Still in His First Term, Says He Won't Seek a Third Term in Office

Sissi says he does not intend to change the constitution and its provision of a two-term presidential limit

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi speaks at a meeting of the Security Council to discuss peacekeeping operations during the 72nd United Nations General Assembly, September 20, 2017.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi will not seek a third term in office, he said in an interview with CNBC, adding that he does not intend to change the constitution and its provision of a two-term presidential limit.

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“It doesn’t suit me as a president to stay one more day against the will of the Egyptians,” he told CNBC over the weekend.

“We will not interfere with (the constitution)...I am with preserving two four-year terms,” Sissi added.

However, he did not confirm if he intended to run for a second term when his current term expires.

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Sissi came to power in 2014, a year after he led the military in ousting elected but unpopular Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. Rights groups say Sissi has since led an unprecedented crackdown on political opponents, activists and critical media.

He is unlikely to face strong opposition and many in Egypt see him as vital to stability in a country where unrest since 2011 has battered the economy.

Egyptian human rights lawyer and opposition leader Khaled Ali on Monday became the first person to announce he is running against Sissi, vowing to challenge him in the 2018 presidential election, provided he was not barred from the contest.

The 45-year-old gained prominence in January, when he won a case that nullified a government transfer of two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia, a deal that had provoked mass protests.