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April 9, 2012 10:02 am

Mubarak Deputy Suleiman to Seek Egyptian Presidency

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In a move that seems to be a challenge to the Muslim Brotherhood's rising popularity, longtime Mubarak aid Omar Suleiman announced his candidacy for the presidency last week. Photo: by Cherie A. Thurlby

Omar Suleiman, deposed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s longtime deputy and intelligence chief, has changed his mind: he announced April 6 that he would be vying for the presidency of Egypt, despite declining to run early on, Israel Hayom reported.

Egyptian analysts surmised Saturday that Suleiman’s surprising announcement came as a result of an agreement with Mubarak’s last prime minister Ahmed Shafiq to drop out, so as to not hurt Suleiman’s chances, in a combined effort to block the Muslim Brotherhood from gaining control over the presidency after dominating the parliament.

The upcoming election is crucial for both the military and the Brotherhood, which are already sparring for power. The military wants to keep control of key security and economic portfolios until at least June, when a new president is announced, while the Brotherhood is pushing to name a new government first.

In a statement, the Brotherhood said it would put forth party leader Mohammed Morsi as an alternate to Khairat el-Shater, the group’s chief strategist and financier.

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