A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Friday, April 6, 2012

Suleiman Agrees (Under Pressure of "Popular Will")(?) to Run at Last Minute

Though Sunday is the deadline for submitting signatures to file as a Presidential candidate in Egypt, longtime General Intelligence Service Chief and short-time Vice President to Husni Mubarak, Gen. ‘Omar Suleiman, has "bowed to popular will" and agreed to run after saying as recently as yesterday that he would not.

Yes, there were demonstrations calling for him to run. And surely they were genuine: I mean, there's no way a guy who spent all those years running the intelligence service could bring people out into the street in his name, is there? No built-in constituency of old Mubarak spooks? Nah. I'm sure it's grass-roots.

And I'm equally sure no one has already been quietly collecting all those signatures he's going to need to have in place by Sunday.

UPDATE: From Ursula Lindsey at The Arabist's reaction to the Suleiman candidacy, I get the sense she's not enthusiastic:
But creepy Mubarak spy-master Omar Suleiman has also apparently just announced he will join the race! . . . Suleiman as Egypt's next president would really be ten times worse than a slap in the face to the revolution (it'd be more like a foot endlessly stomping on the face of the revolution...) That said, I'm surprised by news stories calling him a "front-runner." in a recent Al Ahram poll, he had 10% of the vote. While he can count on the police and intelligence communities, reactionaries and morons in search of "an iron fist," I think a majority of the country would never vote for him. They'd have to rig it to get him in. 
 Oh, go on, tell us what you really think.

UPDATE 2: Zeinobia via Twitter:

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