EGYPT'S army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has given his clearest signal yet that he wants to become president, which would put executive power back in the military's hands.

Sisi ousted Egypt's first democratically elected leader Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood last July after mass protests against his one-year rule.

Speaking yesterday at an army seminar in Cairo, Sisi said: "If I run then it must be at the request of the people and with a mandate from my army … We work in a democracy."

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Egypt is set to hold a referendum on a new constitution this week.