Omar Suleiman, Egypt's former spy chief, to run for president


Egyptian supporters hold up portraits of ex-chief of intelligence and vice president Omar Suleiman in Cairo on December 2, 2011. Suleiman announced on April 6, 2012, that he would run during Egypt's presidential elections next month.



Egypt's former spy chief, Omar Suleiman, said he intends to run in the presidential elections next month, according to the BBC.

Suleiman, who served briefly as vice president under deposed President Hosni Mubarak, initially ruled himself out of the race, but changed his mind after demonstrators urged him to run, said the BBC.

In a statement, Suleiman said he would enter the race if he could get 30,000 signatures needed by Saturday.

In it, Suleiman said, "The call you have directed is an order and I am a soldier who has never disobeyed an order," according to Reuters.

CNN reported that he said, "I promise you, my brothers and sisters, to complete the goals of the revolution and provide security and stability to the Egyptian people," in the statement.

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Suleiman was one of Mubarak's closest allies and served for many years as Mubarak's head of military intelligence, said Reuters.

According to The Christian Science Monitor, "During Suleiman's tenure as director of Egypt’s General Intelligence Directorate, the ardent anti-Islamist oversaw crackdowns on the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as the extraordinary rendition of suspected terrorists."

Suleiman was named vice president by Mubarak in January 2011, during the popular uprising that eventually led to Mubarak's ouster. Mubarak initially attempted to transfer power to him before he stepped down, according to Reuters.

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If Suleiman does garner the needed signatures he would be joining more than 450 candidates who entered the race, said CNN. Suleiman gets along well with the current military rulers of Egypt and people who fear the rise of the Islamists have thrown their support behind him.

In a classified diplomatic cable leaked by WikiLeaks, a former US ambassador to Egypt wrote about Suleiman, "His loyalty to Mubarak seems rock solid," according to CNN.

Other candidates in Egypt's presidential race include the Salafist candidate Hazem Abu Ismail and Khairat al-Shater from the Muslim Brotherhood, according to the BBC. Meanwhile, thousands of Egyptians have protested in support of Abu Ismail, who supports an ultra-conservative version of Islam.

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