Changing course, ex-intel chief Suleiman officially enters presidential race

Ahram Online , Sunday 8 Apr 2012

After declaring earlier that he would not run, one-time Mubarak VP Omar Suleiman makes dramatic, 11th-hour entry into Egypt's first post-Mubarak presidential contest

Egypt former head of intelligence Soliman (Photo: Reuters)

Former Egyptian general intelligence chief Omar Suleiman on Sunday formally filed his presidential candidacy application with the Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission (SPEC).

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

Although Suleiman had earlier declared that he would not be running, he is said to have changed his mind after having been urged by thousands of supporters – who staged pro-Suleiman demonstrations on Friday in the Cairo district of Abbasiya – to contest Egypt's first post-Mubarak presidential race.

According to regulations laid out by the SPEC, would-be presidential contenders must enjoy the support of at least 30 elected MPs, collect 30,000 citizens' signatures from at least 15 governorates throughout Egypt, or secure the backing of a political party that holds at least one seat in parliament.

The election will be held on 23 and 24 May. If no single candidate wins an outright majority, the two leading contenders will face each other in a runoff vote slated for 16 and 17 June.

Other prominent presidential hopefuls to file candidacy applications on Sunday included rights lawyer Khaled Ali and leading Muslim Brotherhood member Mohamed Morsi.

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