CAIRO: Egypt’s former spy chief Omar Suleiman is to contest next month’s presidential election, the official MENA news agency reported on Friday, after having ruled himself out of the race.
His change of mind came after a group of demonstrators had 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.
“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,” he said in a statement carried by MENA.
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 organizational demands of candidacy, but I found that was beyond my capability,” he said.
Candidates bidding for the presidency need 30,000 signatures from people, the support of a party in parliament, the endorsement of 30 MPs.