Middle East

Posters promote Egypt intelligence chief for president

Egypt intelligence chief Omar Suleiman
Image caption Gen Suleiman, 74, has been head of intelligence for nearly two decades

Posters promoting Egypt's intelligence chief as a possible future president have appeared on the streets of Cairo.

Gen Omar Suleiman has long been seen as a possible successor to President Hosni Mubarak, but this is the first time his supporters have gone public.

It is not known who is behind this campaign for next year's election, which follows a similar one promoting the president's son, Gamal Mubarak.

President Mubarak, 82, has not said if he plans to run for a sixth term.

Speculation over who should succeed Mr Mubarak - Egypt's ruler of nearly 30 years - gained pace after he had surgery earlier this year, raising concerns over his health.

Mystery campaign

In recent days, scores of posters showing Gen Suleiman have surfaced in several Cairo neighbourhoods, calling the career army officer the "real alternative".

Image caption The posters call Gen Suleiman the "real alternative"

Gen Suleiman, 74, has been Egypt's intelligence chief for nearly two decades. He is a close aide to Mr Mubarak, in charge of Egypt's pressing foreign policy issues.

Last month, posters of Gamal Mubarak alongside his father sprang up in Cairo's poor neighbourhoods, along with several online campaigns to gather signatures calling on him to stand in the presidential election, due towards the end of 2011.

The ruling National Democratic Party (NDP), of which Gamal is a senior officer, has denied any part in the campaign, calling it a grassroots movement.

The NDP says it will nominate a candidate in May or June next year.

Another popular campaign supporting the candidacy of former UN nuclear chief Mohamed ElBaradei is also under way.

But Mr ElBaradei has said he would only run in 2011 if constitutional restrictions on independent candidates entering the race were lifted.

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