Mubarak's intelligence chief Omar Soliman lining up presidential bid: TV host

Ahram Online , Sunday 19 Feb 2012

Well-known TV host Amr El-Lithy – citing a source close to the Mubarak appointed VP – says 75-year-old former spy chief is considering a run for Egypt's presidency

presidential candidate Omar Soliman (Photo: AP)

Contradictory claims about a possible presidential bid by Hosni Mubarak's former spy chief and vice-president Omar Soliman surfaced on Egyptian TV on Saturday.

Amr El-Lithy, host of 90 Minutes on the Al-Mehawar channel, claimed a source close to Soliman had told him he was planning to announce his presidential candidacy at a press conference in early March.

A few hours later, Adel Hammouda, editor-in-chief of El-Fagr Weekly, told Cairo Today on the Al-Youm cable channel that a close friend of Soliman had told him he had no intention of running for president.  

Soliman is yet to announce if he will stand or not. He has not spoken officially to the media since Mubarak's ouster from power on 11 February 2011.

Prior to Egypt's revolution in 2011, Soliman was seen as a possible successor to Mubarak.

Mubarak appointed him to the position of vice-president on 29 January 2011 in an attempt to quell protesters' anger during the uprising that began four days earlier.

Soliman's candidacy would be opposed by revolutionary groups because of his position in the old regime and his military background, which make him inimical to the revolution's goals of a civilian democratic state.

Born in 1936, Omar Soliman graduated from the Military Academy in 1954. In 1993 he became head of the intelligence service after heading the military intelligence service for three years.

Arab League Secretary-General Nabil El-Araby also reportedly intends to stand for president.

Registration for presidential candidates opens on 10 March. Elections are expected to take place in late May 2012.  

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