CAIRO (MCT) — Deposed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s longtime spy chief officially joined the country’s crowded presidential race Saturday, billing himself as a counterweight to influential Islamist candidates.
Omar Suleiman, Egypt’s head of intelligence for more than 18 years, filed his candidacy papers to the Higher Presidential Elections Committee, which was heavily guarded by riot police, military police and elite guards as he arrived.
Mubarak had appointed Suleiman as his first-ever vice president last year in a desperate act to save his crumbling regime two weeks before his ouster in a popular uprising. Suleiman was known as a reclusive member of the old government, and is perhaps best remembered for his somber televised announcement of Mubarak’s resignation on Feb. 11, 2011.
Suleiman still enjoys some support among Egyptians who, especially in light of the tumultuous post-Mubarak transition, view him as a symbol of stability and moderation, especially when contrasted with some of the unfamiliar, conservative Islamists who have joined the race.