Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, said on Thursday that he would run for president if the army chief does not contest elections, Reuters reports.
"I believe now I will run for the presidency," Shafiq said in an interview on the local Al Qahira Wil Nas television, adding that he would compete if army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi stayed out of the race expected later this year.
Shafiq left Egypt last year after being defeated in the presidential election by Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood member who was since overthrown by the army and now on trial for conspiracy and inciting violence while in office.
During Morsi’s time in power, Shafiq was accused of being involved in corruption and Egyptian authorities even ordered his arrest.
Last month, however, Egyptian courts acquitted him in one corruption case and shelved another, reported Reuters.
Shafiq's return would reflect a shift in the balance of power in Egypt since the army removed Morsi and set the Arab world's largest nation on a new course designed to lead to presidential and parliamentary elections.
The next milestone is a mid-January referendum on a new constitution.
Shafiq, a former air force commander who cited Mubarak as a role model during his election campaign, lost narrowly to Morsi in the run-off.
In an interview in September, he said he would not run for the presidency if Sisi did, and that Sisi had his full support.
Last week, it was reported that Sisi was expected to step down in the coming days to pave the way for his nomination in the upcoming presidential election.
According to Egyptian media, prominent presidential hopefuls have lent their support to Sisi’s and offered to drop plans to run if he decides to. It was also reported that Sisi is expected to announce his bid for the presidency following the referendum on the new constitution.
During the last presidential campaign, Shafiq said he would be ready to visit Israel “provided it gives something to show it has good intentions.”