Leftist presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi says he doubts Egypt's army chief will bring democracy if elected, citing alleged rights abuses since he toppled the country's first democratically chosen leader.
Sabahi endorsed Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Mursi last July, but argues that the repression Egypt suffered under autocrat Hosni Mubarak still taints the political landscape three years after his fall.
Sisi is due to announce his candidacy within a week and is likely to win the presidential election by a landslide.
Asked if Sisi could be a democratic leader, Sabahi said the military man's role in guiding Egypt's political transition so far "makes him bear a direct or indirect political responsibility for a list of rights violations".
The popular uprising which ousted Mubarak in 2011 raised hopes of greater freedoms in Egypt, a country at the heart of the Arab world. But progress toward democracy has wavered.
Many Egyptians also saw Mursi as an autocrat during his troubled one-year rule, which ended after mass protests against him and his Muslim Brotherhood gave the army a cue to intervene.
Security forces have since killed hundreds of Brotherhood members in the streets, arrested thousands, and put Mursi and other leaders on trial. Secular activists have also been jailed.