CAIRO (REUTERS) - Ousted Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister, Mr Ahmed Shafik, said in a television interview broadcast on Thursday that he would run for president if the army chief does not contest elections.
"I believe now I will run for the presidency," Mr Shafik told 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.
Mr Shafik left Egypt last year after being defeated in the presidential election by Mr Mohamed Mursi, the Muslim Brotherhood politician since overthrown by the army and now on trial for conspiracy and inciting violence while in office.
Last month, Egyptian courts acquitted him in one corruption case and shelved another.
Mr Shafik's return would reflect a shift in the balance of power in Egypt since the army removed Mursi 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.
Mr Shafik, a former air force commander who cited Mr Mubarak as a role model during his election campaign, lost narrowly to Mr Mursi in the run-off.
In an interview in September, he said he would not run for the presidency if Mr Sisi did, and that Mr Sisi had his full support.
Mr Sisi has yet to say if he will run. He enjoys wide support among those Egyptians who rejoiced at Mr Mursi's overthrow, but is reviled by the ousted president's supporters. Dates for presidential and parliamentary elections have yet to be set.