Last updated: 5 April, 2012

Egypt’s ex spy chief rules out presidency bid

Egypt’s former spy chief and vice president Omar Suleiman ruled out running for the presidency in the upcoming election, ending weeks of speculation, the official MENA news agency reported on Thursday.

Suleiman, who served as Hosni Mubarak’s vice president before the strongman’s overthrow last year, said in statement on Wednesday that he would sit out the election because getting the nomination was too difficult.

“I tried until yesterday morning to overcome the obstacles related to the current situation and the administrative, financial and organisational demands of candidacy, but I found that was beyond my capability,” he said.

Candidates bidding for the presidency need 30,000 signatures from people or support of a party in parliament.

The election on May 23 and 24 will be the first presidential vote since the ouster of Mubarak in a popular uprising in February last year that led to military rule.

The military says it will hand power to the winner by the end of June. The front runners include Khairat el-Shater, a leader of the powerful Muslim Brotherhood, and former Arab League chief Amr Mussa.