Hosni Mubarak's former vice-president and spy chief says he won't attempt to "reinvent" the regime of his longtime mentor if he becomes president.

Omar Suleiman is running in presidential elections scheduled for May 23-24. He said in an interview published Monday in the state-owned newspaper Al-Akhbar that restoring security would be his top priority as president.

He also sought to distance himself from the Mubarak regime and said the uprising that forced Mubarak to step down nearly 14 months ago has created a "new reality that cannot be reversed."

The 75-year-old Suleiman said he has received death threats from "elements" of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups since he announced his candidacy on Friday.

Suleiman's candidacy is being called an insult to the Egyptian people by the Muslim Brotherhood. It says that if Suleiman wins, Egypt will be subjected to renewed turmoil. 

An Israeli lawmaker with close ties to the ousted Egyptian regime says Suleiman would be the best president for Egypt in terms of Israeli interests.

Legislator Binyamin Ben-Eliezer says a Muslim Brotherhood leader would threaten Israel's 1979 peace deal with Egypt.

Ben-Eliezer told Army Radio on Monday that former strongman Suleiman views relations with Israel as a strategic "cornerstone."

The 1979 accord is a pillar of stability for both countries.

But Israeli concerns for its future have grown with the rise of Islamist parties in Egypt. The Brotherhood has said it would seek changes, but not cancel the peace deal.

Ben-Eliezer is a longtime friend of toppled Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak. Suleiman announced his candidacy for president last week.

With files from CBC News