Egypt's Sisi vows Muslim Brotherhood 'will not exist'

Abdul Fattah al-Sisi is widely expected to win the presidential election on 26-27 May

Egyptian presidential favourite and former army chief Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has vowed that the banned Muslim Brotherhood group "will not exist," should he win.

In his first interview with Egyptian TV, he added that two assassination plots against him had been uncovered.

Mr Sisi removed Egypt's first democratically elected President Mohammed Morsi from power last July.

He is widely expected to win the presidential election on 26-27 May.

Mr Sisi had denied he had any political ambitions when he ousted President Morsi and launched a crackdown on the Brotherhood last year.

In a joint interview with Egypt's privately owned CBC and ONTV television channels on Monday, he said: "I want to tell you that it is not me that finished [the Brotherhood]. You, the Egyptians, are the ones who finished it."

Asked whether the Brotherhood would cease to exist if he should gain the presidency, the former field marshal - dressed in a suit - answered: "Yes. That's right."

He said there had been two attempts to assassinate him, but added: "I believe in fate, I am not afraid."

He did not provide details of who was behind the alleged plots or how advanced they were.

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[Sisi] does not accept discussion”

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Mr Sisi also denied being the candidate of the army, saying "the army would not have a role in ruling Egypt", and he defended a controversial new law that puts severe restrictions on the right to protest.

A second part of the interview is due to be broadcast on Tuesday.

The BBC's Orla Guerin in Cairo says power cuts in parts of the capital interrupted Mr Sisi's lengthy broadcast.

Keeping the lights on will be one of the first challenges if - as is widely forecast - he is elected president later this month, she adds.

Military rulers
Supporters of Abdul Fattah al-Sisi watch his broadcast. 5 May 2014 Egyptians gathered in the streets in parts of Cairo to watch the pre-recorded interview

If he does become president, Mr Sisi will be the latest in a line of Egyptian rulers drawn from the military, going back to the 1950s - a line only briefly broken during President Morsi's year in office.

Human rights groups say the military-backed authorities have displayed increasing hostility to independent media and to political opponents.

Since Mr Morsi's overthrow more than 1,000 people have been killed and thousands of members of Mr Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood detained by the interim authorities, who have designated the Islamist movement a terrorist group.

Mr Sisi's supporters, however, view him as a strong figure who can stabilise a country plagued by protests and political violence since the popular uprising toppled President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

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