'Pharaoh' Mubarak known for tight grip on his 30-year term as president
Published 31/01/2011 | 05:00
Maintaining his iron grip on Egypt for nearly 30 years has earned President Hosni Mubarak (above) the rather flattering title of 'The Pharaoh'.
While his personal wealth -- estimated in some quarters to top €23.3bn -- may draw comparisons to the country's ancient rulers, his popularity with the Egyptian people is by no means commensurate.
During his unopposed time in office, he has managed to maintain a degree of stability, while enjoying good relations with the West and Israel.
But it has often come at a cost, with many of his opponents complaining of poverty, corruption and state brutality.
The 82-year-old former Air Force officer is no stranger to the perils of high office, having survived six assassination attempts.
Born in 1928 in the village of Kahel-el-Meselha, Mr Mubarak graduated from the Egyptian Military Academy in 1949.
After the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, he was promoted to Air Chief Marshal, opening the door to political power.
A loyal servant of President Anwar El-Sadat, he was appointed vice president in 1975. He was given the top job in October 1981 when Mr Sadat was assassinated by Islamic extremists.
In a prolonged period of emergency rule, affording the state draconian powers of arrest, Mr Mubarak cemented his position by opposing Islamic extremism and maintaining good relations with America. (© Daily Telegraph, London)