Egypt’s military ruler said presidential elections slated for next week will be free and transparent, and will yield a “great leader for a great country.”
Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi’s statement, reported by the state-run Middle East News Agency, comes amid concerns by Islamists and some secular groups that there are attempts to engineer the return of the ousted regime of Hosni Mubarak, albeit under different leadership.
Two of the leading candidates -- former Arab League chief Amre Moussa and former premier Ahmed Shafik -- served under Mubarak. Their main rivals, according to polls by the state-run Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, are Islamist Abdel-Moneim Aboul-Fotouh and Mohamed Mursi, the head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm.
The ruling generals, in a separate statement, stressed that they had no designs on power and urged Egyptians to be patient.
Separately, Mohamed Issa, whose candidacy has barely registered a blip in opinion polls in recent weeks, said he was throwing his support behind Moussa and urged his supporters to do the same, according to state television and MENA.