Gen. Abdel Fatah al-Sissi has formally announced his plan to run for president. As our Cairo bureau chief Abigail Hauslohner writes, if he wins the election, it would complete the defeat of Egypt's brief experiment in Islamist rule, and it would make him the sixth military man to lead the country over what has been a nearly unbroken 62-year span of autocracy.

See the list of military leaders who have ruled Egypt since the country became a republic.

Mohamed Naguib (June 1953-Nov. 1954)

Mohamed Naguib addresses the crowds from his presidential palace in 1954. (AP)

Born in Sudan, Naguib led the Free Officers Movement, along with Gamal Abdel Nasser, that deposed King Farouk. After the declaration of the republic, Naguib was sworn in as the first president of Egypt, but he was forcibly removed from power by Nasser less than 1 1/2 years later.

Gamal Abdel Nasser (Nov. 1954-Sept. 1970)

Lt. Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser campaigns to win support for his governing revolution council in 1954. (AP)

After overthrowing Egypt's last monarch in 1952, Nasser ordered a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, put President Mohammed Naguib under house arrest in 1954 and assumed the office of the presidency in 1956.

Anwar Sadat (Oct. 1970-Oct. 1981)

Anwar Sadat is seen on a train during his trip to Mansura in 1978. (Bill Foley/AP)

The Nasser confidant became the third president of Egypt and served until he was assassinated during a victory parade in Cairo.

Hosni Mubarak (Oct. 1981-Feb. 2011)

Hosni Mubarak watches a victory parade in 1974. (Harry Koundjakjian/AP)

After Sadat's assassination, Mubarak became the president, ruling Egypt for almost 30 years. He stepped down during the 2011 revolution, after which a council of top generals ruled the country for 1 1/2 years until Egypt held its first democratic election.

Mohamed Hussein Tantawi (Feb. 2011-June 2012)

Mohammed Hussein Tantawi meets with officials at the ministry of defence in Cairo in 2012. (AFP/Getty Images)

Tantawi, who was the commander in chief of the Egyptian military, became the head of Egypt's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces - the de facto head of state - after Mubarak's ouster. Soon after his 2012 election, Islamist President Mohamed Morsi pushed Tantawi into retirement and replaced him with Sissi.

Mohamed Morsi (June 2012-July 2013)

Mohammed Morsi holds a news conference at the Presidential palace in Cairo in 2014. (Maya Alleruzzo/AP)

Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood stalwart, became the first democratically elected head of state in Egypt's history. But he quickly isolated his political opposition and earned a tide of new enemies by granting himself nearly unlimited powers, pushing through an Islamist-backed constitution and failing to fix the country's biggest woe - its economy. Sissi led a coup to remove Morsi after mass protests called for his ouster.

Abdel Fatah al-Sissi (Running for presidency)

The field marshal, who commands vast popularity and who retired as defense minister on Wednesday, will be seeking the presidency this spring; he is almost certain to win.