Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has resigned from his positions as Egypt's defense minister and army chief and announced he would run for the presidency.
Sisi, dressed in military fatigues, made the announcement in a recorded televised statement on March 27.
"Never can anyone force Egyptians to vote for a president they do not want -- those days are over," said Sisi. "Therefore, I am before you humbly stating my intention to run for the presidency of the Arab Republic of Egypt."
Sisi last July deposed Egypt's first freely elected leader, Islamist President Muhammad Morsi, following mass protests against his rule and the growing political influence of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood.
The 59-year-old soldier has emerged as the most influential figure in Egypt's interim administration that has governed since then.
Sisi, who enjoys wide popularity among Egyptians, is expected to win the presidential election easily, given the lack of any serious rivals.
However, in his address, Sisi sought to temper high expectations, saying he could not work "miracles" in the country of 85 million that is suffering from poverty. He called on Egyptians to work hard to improve their country.
Sisi also said Egypt was threatened by terrorists and he would work to make a country "free of fear."
Deadly attacks against Egyptian security forces have been on the rise since Morsi's ouster, especially in Egypt's lawlessness-dominated Sinai peninsula.
The Islamist opposition sees Sisi as the mastermind of a coup against a freely elected leader.
Magdy Karkar, a senior member of a Brotherhood-led coalition organizing antigovernment protests, said Sisi's candidacy confirms that Morsi's ouster was a intended to wreck Egypt's budding democracy.
Ibrahim Munir, a member of the Brotherhood's political bureau, said there can be no stability and security in Egypt "under the shadow of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in the presidency."
General Sedki Sobhi, formally chief of staff, replaces Sisi as head of the army.
Meanwhile, Egyptian authorities on Wednesday put 919 defendants, including the top leader of the Brotherhood Mohammed Badie, on trial for murder and other charges in connection to violence the past months.
Meanwhile, Egyptian authorities on March 26 put 919 defendants, including the top leader of the Brotherhood Mohammed Badie, on trial for murder and other charges in connection to violence the past months.
Earlier this week, an Egyptian court sentenced to death 529 suspected Morsi supporters over a deadly attack on a police station.
The decision was criticized by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who urged Egypt on March 26 to overturn it , saying it "simply defies logic," and warning it sent a "negative message" around the world.
Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP