File picture: Egypt's Defence Minister Abdul Fattah Al Sissi, centre, Egyptian Prime Minister Hazem Al Beblawi, right, and army's Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Sedki Sobhi, left, attend the funeral of Giza Police Gen. Nabil Farrag in Cairo, Egypt. Image Credit: AP

Cairo: An Egyptian merchant, carrying the first name of the deposed president Mohammad Mursi, has applied to be officially renamed Al Sissi after the country’s widely popular army chief, who led the Islamist leader’s ouster more than six months ago.

Mursi Metwali, a 53-year-old garment dealer, decided on the name change last month in the wake of a deadly car bombing that targeted a police headquarters in the Nile Delta city of Mansura, reported the semi-official newspaper Al Akhbar on Friday.

Metwali’s store was destroyed in the bombing that killed 16 people, mainly policemen. The military-backed government blamed the attack on the ousted president’s Muslim Brotherhood and declared it a terrorist group. A little-known militant group, calling itself Ansar Beit Al Maqdas (Supporters of Jerusalem) claimed responsibility for the assault.

“I could no longer bear hearing people calling me Mursi,” the trader, a father of three, told the paper.

“The disasters caused by the toppled president when he was in power and the Mansoura explosion have all prompted me to change my name.”

Metwali added that he had already embarked on procedures to change his name to Al Sissi, referring to Defence Minister Abdul Fattah Al Sissi, tipped to be Egypt’s next president.

“The name change will also require changes in all my official documents including those of the marriage certificate and birth certificates of my three girls.”

Al Sissi has ridden a wave of popularity across Egypt since he toppled Mursi on July 3 following enormous street protests against his one-year-old rule.

Backers of Mursi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president, accuse Al Sissi of orchestrating the overthrow to become president. Gen. Al Sissi, 59, has not said if he will stand for president. However, speculation is wide that he will announce his decision after a crucial referendum on a draft constitution due next week.

Several presidential hopefuls have said they will not run if Al Sissi launches a presidential bid, predicting a landslide win for him.