CAIRO: Former Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, a stalwart of ousted president Hosni Mubarak’s regime, could run for president in upcoming elections, local press reported on Monday.
“Omar Suleiman approaches the presidential battle,” read the headline of the state-owned daily Al-Ahram, adding that his supporters would organize a march to his house to ask him to declare his candidacy officially.
“I cannot refuse the call of the people, I don’t want power but to prove my intention to serve the country for the rest of my life,” Suleiman was quoted as saying by another state-owned daily, Al-Akhbar.
The former intelligence chief — who was in charge of the sensitive Israeli-Palestinian issue — was named vice-president by Mubarak a few days before the veteran president was forced out of power by a popular uprising.
Once a staunch enemy of the powerful Muslim Brotherhood, Suleiman began talks with the Islamist group during the last final of Mubarak’s rule in February last year.
Registration for candidacy is open until April 8, with the first round of elections scheduled for May 23 and May 24.
Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, was still mulling which candidate it would endorse, having said it would back a Muslim candidate who does not belong to any Islamist political group.
But in a recent statement, the FJP said it would “examine the possibility of nominating a leader of the party or the Muslim Brotherhood as a candidate in the presidential elections.”
Relations have been strained between the Brotherhood and the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which took power when Mubarak was ousted, with the Islamist group pressuring the SCAF to sack the government and clear the way for an FJP-led cabinet.
The Islamist group has also sparked the ire of liberals and leftists after a newly formed panel to write the new constitution was dominated by Islamists.