Egyptian state-run newspaper "al-Ahram" reported on its website that Egyptian army chief General "Abdel Fattah al-Sisi" said on Saturday he would run for president if the people asked him to and if the army backed him.
Sisi, who ousted Mohamed Mursi last July after mass protests, is widely expected to seek the top job. Saturday's statement was the clearest indication so far of his intention.
"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", he said, speaking at an army seminar in Cairo.
Muslim Brotherhood supporters of Mursi accuse the army of staging a coup and have held frequent protests calling for his reinstatement. But the security forces have launched a wide crackdown against the group, arresting thousands on charges of violence.
Egypt is set to hold a referendum on a new constitution on January 14-15, a major milestone in that roadmap which will clear the way for presidential and parliamentary elections.
The state MENA news agency quoted Sisi on Saturday as urging Egyptians to "assume national responsibility and turn out in force to vote in the constitutional referendum in order to correct the democratic path and build a modern democratic state".