Hosni Mubarak

Muhammad Hosni Mubarak has been the president of the Arab Republic of Egypt since 14 October 1981, succeeding to that office following the assassination of Anwar Sadat. Mubarak was trained as a pilot and rose in the ranks of Egypt's air force during the 1960s and '70s. President Sadat named Mubarak Vice President in 1975, and in 1978 Mubarak became the vice chairman of the National Democratic Party (NDP), the governing political party in Egypt. When Mubarak succeeded Sadat, he also became the chairman of the NDP. With control of the government and uncontested in subsequent elections, Mubarak won the presidency in national referenda in 1987, 1993 and 1999. During his presidency he focused on economic growth and inched toward political reform, but economic gains in the 1990s were off-set by criticisms that Egypt was a near-dictatorship (Mubarak never lifted the state of emergency imposed after Sadat's assassination). In February of 2005 Mubarak announced plans for a September 2005 election that would be Egypt's first-ever multi-candidate contest for the presidency. On 7 September 2005 he handily won his fifth consecutive term, but it was a victory clouded by low voter turnout, reports of fraud and the imprisonment of his political rival, Ayman Nour. Since then his presidency has been dominated by pressures for political reform and his love/hate relationship with the United States. Mubarak has been rebuked by President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for his lack of "commitment" to democracy, but he is an important ally in keeping Egypt as a base of U.S. operations in Iraq.
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