Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi (M) in the SCAF meeting (Photo: Facebook page of the armed forces' official spokesperson)
The Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) said it would let Egypt's defence minister Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi decide whether or not to run for president in accordance with "his sense of patriotism" and the "popular demands of the Egyptian people."
The statement, broadcast on Egypt's state-run TV as a voice recording, said that based on El-Sisi's efforts during these "historic times," SCAF considers the army chief's run for the presidency "a mandate and an obligation."
SCAF said that if El-Sisi is chosen as Egypt's next president, it will be based on the free will of the Egyptian people.
The statement said that, at the end of an emergency meeting, in which El-Sisi's presidential bid was discussed, he thanked the council for giving him the "right to respond to the call of duty."
The presidential elections are expected to take place between 17 February and 18 April.