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A prominent Egyptian-American reformer said Sunday he would run for Egypt's presidency if a proposed constitutional amendment allowing direct elections for multiple candidates succeeds.

However, the chances of that happening are slim.

Saad Eddin Ibrahim -- a university professor, sociologist and critic of Egypt's military-controlled regime -- acknowledges there is little hope of success. But he said he was putting the idea forward to try to break the taboo against anyone other than the sitting president being considered a candidate.

President Hosni Mubarak, 76, has led Egypt since the 1981 assassination of his predecessor, Anwar Sadat. In four previous presidential referendums, Mubarak was the sole candidate and Egyptians could only vote "yes" or "no." The next poll is set for October 2005.

"If given the chance, I personally want to run (for president) to break the barrier of fear and intimidation," Ibrahim told the Associated Press. "Not that I have real hopes of success, but I want to show my fellow Egyptians that nothing should be a political taboo."

Ibrahim spent more than a year behind bars before being exonerated in 2003 on charges related to his election monitoring activities.

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