Egypt's former army chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi says the Muslim Brotherhood has no future in Egypt if he wins the country's presidential election later this month.
Sissi is widely favored, and said during an interview aired Monday that the Brotherhood and ousted president Mohamed Morsi are "finished."
"I want to say to you that it is not me who put an end to them. You, the Egyptians, put an end to them. The Egyptians said 'no'. On the 30th of June they said no, and now they are saying no. Their problem is not with me personally. The problem is with the Egyptian people," said Sissi.
Sissi referenced the June 30 protests last year that brought millions into the streets to demonstrate against Morsi just a year into his presidency. His critics accused him of trying to monopolize power and failing to fix Egypt's economy. Sissi, then serving as army chief, pushed Morsi from power days later.
Morsi was the first Egyptian president who did not come from military ranks. Sissi, who retired from the military in March to launch his candidacy, said Monday the army will "not have a role in ruling Egypt."
Civilian dressed-generals ruled Egypt since the military toppled King Farouk in the 1952. Morsi was the first democratically-elected civilian president in June 2012.
The Muslim Brotherhood swept all elections following the 2011 popular uprising against longtime leader Hosni Mubarak, but has been blacklisted as a "terrorist organization" by Egypt's interim leaders.
The army-backed government has led a crackdown on the group, arresting much of its top leadership. Police and army crackdown on Brotherhood, liberal and secular protesters following Morsi's overthrow has left more than 1,000 people dead, most of them Morsi supporters. Thousands of protesters are in jail.
A man on a horse cart rides past a huge banner of former army chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, in downtown Cairo, May 6, 2014.
Egyptian presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi waves at his supporters during his campaign. He is the only opponent running against former army chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, in Mahalla, 125 kilometers north of Cairo, May 5, 2014.
Supporters of presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi raise posters of him during his campaign in Mahalla, 125 kilometers north of Cairo, May 5, 2014.
Supporters of former army chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi watch his first televised interview on a big screen, Cairo, May 5, 2014.
Former army chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi listens to a question during an interview in a nationally televised program on Egypt's State Television, in Cairo, May 5, 2014.
Supporters of former army chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi hold posters of him with Arabic writing that reads "Long Live Egypt" while watching his first televised interview on a big screen, Cairo, May 5, 2014.
Supporters of former army chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi dance and wave Egyptian flags during a rally, in Sadat City, May 5, 2014.
This photo released by the presidential campaign of Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi shows the candidate greeting supporters at a gathering of about 600 women, in Cairo, May 5, 2014.
A man pins pictures of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak on a poster showing presidential hopeful Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, in Cairo, May 4, 2014.
Since Morsi's ouster, Egypt has also seen attacks by militants spread from the restive Sinai Peninsula to other cities, including the capital, Cairo. Student protests also spread from Cairo university to colleges in Alexandria and other major cities.
On the other hand, an Egyptian court on Tuesday banned the leaders of autocratic ex-president Hosni Mubarak's ruling party from running in any coming elections.
Mubarak's National Democratic Party won all elections during his 30-year rule, mostly by rigging outcomes, marginalizing any credible challengers and suppressing dissidents.
The party was dissolved in 2011 after the popular uprising that forced Mubarak to step down and name a military council to rule Egypt during a transitional period.
Some information for this report was contributed by Reuters.