Egypt’s former Vice President and intelligence chiefis to be a candidate next month’s presidential election, the official MENA news agency reported on Friday.
Thousands of Egyptian Internet users have immediately expressed their amazement and many their dismay - to see the former Vice President and Chief of Intelligence returns to the front of the political scene after the January-February 2011 revolt.
The announcement on Thursday was even more unexpected after Suleiman looked certain to fail in obtaining the necessary support, as nominations end Sunday.
But in a statement released by the official MENA news agency, the former aide of Hosni Mubarak said he answered "a popular call."
During the day, hundreds of people demonstrated in a Cairo neighborhood to call for his candidacy. "It would be an honor for Egypt if Omar Suleiman is the president," said one demonstrator.
15 people were injured and several were detained after police broke up a demonstration by Suleiman supporters in Cairo.
Mr. Suleiman promised "every effort possible (...) in a hope to achieve change, fulfill the objectives of the revolution and materialize the hopes of the Egyptian people."
Some of his supporters gathered in the district of Abbassiya, began to disperse in late Friday afternoon to get the required number of supporters. Candidates need 30,000 signatures of voters, or the support of thirty members of a party represented in Parliament.
Mr. Suleiman's candidacy is the latest twist in a long process dotted with twists.
In recent days, there are reports that a group of Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood officials are in Washington this week, meeting with U.S. officials, in an attempt to present a “moderate” face to a group that has a reputation as being intolerant of Jews and Christians and opposed to Western influence in the Middle East, an Egyptian media report said.
At the same time, a member of parliament for Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice party, the leading political forces, Abd Al-Maujood Al-Dardiri said on Friday that the movement would not put Egypt's peace treaty with Israel to a national referendum vote.
It is worth mentioning that Egypt's presidential election committee set May 23-24 as the dates for the country's first presidential election after the toppling of Hosni Mubarak last year. The election results are expected to be published no later than June 30.
The registration process will start on March 10 and will end on April 8. The official campaign will start on April 30 and will end on May 21.