CAIRO  - Egypt’s former vice president appointed by Hosni Mubarak has changed his mind and says he will run in the upcoming presidential elections.

Omar Suleiman issued a statement on Friday saying he reversed an earlier decision to stay out of the race after his supporters pleaded with him. The state MENA news agency carried the statement.

Suleiman’s next step is to get the endorsement of 30,000 supporters before officially submitting his application to run. Mubarak appointed Suleiman, then Egypt’s intelligence chief and a key ally of the now ousted president, during last year’s uprising.

He is distrusted by some as a symbol of the old regime but has found support among some liberals and moderates who fear the Islamists’ rising power.