“If I run, then it must be at the request of the people and with a mandate from my army,” General Sisi said at a military seminar, according to the website of the state newspaper, Al Ahram. “I can’t turn my back on Egypt.”
General Sisi, the defense minister, urged voters to turn out to vote for the constitution in frankly personal terms.
“Don’t embarrass me in front of the world,” he said, “not me personally but the military, because in the military we are as united as one man’s heart, and we adhere to democracy.” He noted that the new charter authorizes the military to “protect the will of the people” and he vowed, “We will protect it in any circumstances.”
The explicit link between his candidacy and the referendum appeared to be a bet that he could promote both at once, exploiting his personal popularity to draw sympathetic voters to the constitutional plebiscite, while at the same time using it to begin his presidential campaign.