CAIRO: Arab League chief Amr Moussa said on Sunday he plans to run for president in his native Egypt after a popular uprising that toppled veteran strongman Hosni Mubarak, the official MENA agency reported.
“I intend to run in the next presidential election, and an (official) announcement will be made at the right time,” MENA quoted him as saying.
Moussa said a new Egyptian figure would be picked “very soon” to head the 22-member pan-Arab organization.
The Arab League secretary general’s name has often been mentioned as a potential new leader of Egypt.
As nationwide protests raged to demand Mubarak’s ouster, Moussa said he had no objection to running for president in the Arab world’s most populous country.
“I am of course at the service of my country… I am ready to serve as a citizen who has the right to be a candidate,” he told France’s Europe 1 radio before making an appearance at Tahrir Square, the focal point of the anti-Mubarak protests.
Mussa, 74, a former foreign minister, is a dynamic figure with a quick sense of humor and charisma that often eclipsed that of his former boss Mubarak.
His popularity stems from his strong stands against Israel and language that appeals to the Arab street.
Days after a popular uprising in Tunisia, Moussa warned during an Arab summit in Egypt of the “unprecedented anger” in the region, sealing his legacy as an Arab public figure in touch with the people.
“The Arab soul is broken by poverty, unemployment and general recession… The political problems, the majority of which have not been fixed… have driven the Arab citizen to a state of unprecedented anger and frustration,” he told Arab leaders who had remained mostly silent on events in Tunisia.
European and Arab diplomats believe he is a candidate who could appeal to both the people and international figures.
But serving as Egypt’s Foreign minister for 10 years, 1991-2001, means he’s been part of the Mubarak regime, critics say. –Additional reporting by Daily News Egypt.