Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister, Ahmed Shafik, has said he will run for president if the Egyptian army chief does not contest elections.
"I believe now I will run for the presidency," Shafik told a Cairo television station on Thursday, adding that he would compete if army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi stayed out of a race that is expected later this year.
Shafik left Egypt last year after being defeated in the presidential election by Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood
politician since overthrown by the army and now on trial for conspiracy and inciting violence while in office.
Shafik, a former air force commander who cited Mubarak as a role model during his election campaign, was then charged with corruption in his absence.
Last month, however, Egyptian courts acquitted him in one corruption case and shelved another.
Speaking from the UAE, Shafik said it was possible he would return to Cairo to vote in the referendum on a new constitution on January 14 and 15.
Sisi has yet to say if he will run. He enjoys wide support among those Egyptians who rejoiced at Morsi's overthrow, but he is reviled by the former president's supporters.
Dates for presidential and parliamentary elections have yet to be set.
Shafik called for maximum force to be used against the Muslim Brotherhood, which the army-installed interim government declared as a "terrorist" organisation in December.