A spy chief for president?

Omar Suleiman, Egypt’s intelligence chief, to be the next president

Amr Nabil/AP/CP

Last week, activists began campaigning for Omar Suleiman, Egypt’s intelligence chief, to be the next president. The elections are set for 2011, and posters have been plastered on Cairo’s streets depicting Suleiman as a suave leader in a business suit and dark sunglasses. A slogan touts him as the “real alternative as president of the republic”—a slap at President Hosni Mubarak. Suleiman, 74, has been Egypt’s intelligence chief for two decades, and is known as one of the president’s most trusted aides.

Suleiman hasn’t endorsed the movement. But the campaigners clearly hope to thwart a family dynasty that would see Mubarak, 82, the country’s leader for almost 30 years, pass power on to his son Gamal. The younger Mubarak was previously kept at arm’s length by his father, but has lately been attending high-profile political events. Some Egyptians are also touting former UN nuclear agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei as a potential presidential candidate. As it stands, the race still appears to be open: Gamal has yet to be endorsed by his father, and some analysts think the elder Mubarak could still run again.

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