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I'm not SCAF's candidate, says Suleiman

Presidential candidate Omar Suleiman, Hosni Mubarak's long-time intelligence boss, says he supports 'legitimate goals of revolution', has received death threats from Muslim Brotherhood

Ahram Online, Monday 9 Apr 2012
Omar Suleiman-Large
Omar Suleiman (Photo: Reuters)
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Hosni Mubarak's long-time intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman, has spoken in depth about his political ideas for the first time since he became an official presidential candidate on 6 April.

In an interview with Mustafa Bakri, the independent MP, editor-in-chief of Al-Osboa weekly newspaper and vocal supporter of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), Suleiman said, "I support the legitimate demands of the revolution. The ex-regime has been abolished and there is no turning back in history."

Suleiman said that he did not intend to release Mubarak and his co-accused if they are convicted because everyone should be accountable for their mistakes.

He also sought to reassure critics that he had no control over the judiciary.

Suleiman claimed he had received several death threats from members of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups on his personal mobile phone and via close family and friends.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) heard about his presidential candidacy via the media and it was not involved in his decision, he claimed.

Suleiman said he would resign if the constitution, which will not be drafted until after the presidential election, gave Egypt a parliamentary or semi-parliamentary system. He would not be a "symbolic president" because he was standing in order to protect the country during its transition to democracy.

Suleiman had earlier announced his decision not to stand for president due to a lack of financial and organisational capacity. However, he later reversed his position after an "unexpected wave of support on Friday, including public rallies, young supporters gathering in front of my house and phone calls from diverse social groups."

His decision was based on the public's will and his desire to serve the country in this important historical period, just as he served the country as "a military soldier."

"I am optimistic about the awakening of public opinion that led the Kanaba party (silent majority) to have a say in Egypt's future."

Suleiman set out his four main political goals:

  1. To restore national security by boosting the police force and implementing the law. Nobody would be above the law.
  2. To re-open channels of investment and tourism to foster economic growth and create jobs. To encourage honest Egyptian businessmen to invest in Egypt and to attract foreign investors by creating a law that protects their rights.
  3. To promote social justice by prohibiting monopolies, improve working conditions, help poor families, and implement a minimum wage that secures a decent living.
  4. To ensure freedom of political expression.

Suleiman formally filed his presidential candidacy application with the Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission (SPEC) on Sunday.

The man who briefly served as ousted president Hosni Mubarak's vice-president during last year's Tahrir Square uprising, arrived on Sunday at the SPEC headquarters surrounded by supporters and a protective cordon of military police.

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