Egypt ex-spy chief to run for president
Egypt's former spy chief Omar Suleiman has decided to contest next
month's presidential election, the official MENA news agency reported on
Friday, two days after ruling himself out of the race. His change of
mind came after a group of demonstrators gathered in a Cairo district to
urge Suleiman, who served as Hosni Mubarak's vice president before the
strongman's overthrow last year, to run.
"I was very moved by your strong stand," Abdullah said in a statement
carried by MENA.
"The call you issued today was an order, and I am a soldier who has
never in my life disobeyed an order ... I cannot but reply to the call
and join the race despite the obstacles and difficulties," he said. The
former military man who took over as intelligence chief in 1991 vowed to
"make every effort ... to achieve the expected changes and complete the
aims of the revolution, and live up to the hopes of the Egyptian
Suleiman had said on Wednesday that he would sit out the May 23-24
election because the nomination procedures were too tough."I tried until
yesterday morning to overcome the obstacles related to the current
situation and the administrative, financial and organisational demands
of candidacy, but I found that was beyond my capability," he said.
Candidates bidding for the presidency need 30,000 signatures from
people or the support of a party in parliament.The military says it will
hand power to the winner by the end of June.
The front runners include Khairat el-Shater, a leader of the powerful
Muslim Brotherhood, and former foreign minister and Arab League chief
Many in Egypt regard Suleiman as having formed part of the inner
circle of Mubarak, who shortly before his fall named the intelligence
supremo as vice president.
Born in 1936 to a well-off family in the southern town of Qena,
Suleiman graduated from Cairo's military academy in 1955. Under Mubarak,
Suleiman served as a negotiating partner for the United States, Israel
and the Palestinians, orchestrating a series of short-lived truces.