Field Marshal Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has resigned as Egypt's military chief in order to stand for the presidency. The announcement was made on state television.
Field Marshal Sisi led the overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi in July last year.
Correspondents say he is likely to win the presidential poll, given his popularity and the lack of any serious rivals.
In his address, Mr Sisi told Egyptians he was "appearing in front of you for the last time in military uniform" before warning that the country was "threatened by terrorists" and saying he would work to make an Egypt "free of fear".
He also promised to tackle the country's growing economic problems, but said he could not "perform miracles" and called on Egyptians to work hard to improve their country.
Field Marshal Sisi, 59, said he had "humbly" decided to bow to the will of the people.
The BBC reports ssupporters see him as a saviour who can end the political turmoil in Egypt since a popular uprising ended President Hosni Mubarak's three decades of rule in 2011.
The government is yet to set a date for the election.