Guest Author - Carol Taller
Hosni Mubarak was born on May 4, 1928 and is best known for his leadership as the President of Egypt from 1981 – 2011. During his time in office he focused on economic growth and political reform, but he will probably be remembered most for the dramatic protests to remove him from office.
Mubarak’s early years as a pilot gave way to a strong career in the Air Force. In 1975 President Anwar Sadat named Mubarak Vice President and by 1978 he became Vice President of the National Democratic Party. When Sadat was assassinated in 1981 Mubarak took over as President of Egypt and Chairman of the National Democratic Party as well.
Having full control of the government, he ran uncontested for Presidency in the 1987, 1993, and 1999 elections. In 2005 the government changed some laws and he could no longer run opposed. Mubarak won the election, but it was a hollow victory with low voter turnout, reports of fraud, and imprisonment of Ayman Nour, Mubarak’s rival, following the election.
The election was deemed a fraud; it was believed Mubarak was saving the position for his son Gamal Mubarak.
The US and Egypt existed with a love/hate relationship in place. While Mubarak was a necessary and important ally for the US, there was often dissention about Egypt’s lack of democracy.
On January 25, 2011 opposition groups in Egyptian began a united protest against Mubarak’s leadership. The movement used cell phones and social media to alert and inform people as they called for Mubarak to step down from office. Protestors were marching in the streets and violence was growing. After several days the Egyptian military asserted that they would not use force against the protestors. Mubarak had lost control.
On February 22, 2011, after three weeks of mounting pressing at home and political intervention from leaders around the world, Mubarak agreed to step down from office and give control of the country to the Supreme Military Council. Egyptians celebrated, chanting that Egypt was now free.
As many as 300 people died during the protests.
The Military Council dissolved Parliament and suspended the Constitution until a new one could be written. A six month plan was put in place for civilian rule to take over.