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Facts about Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak

world Updated: Feb 10, 2011 22:32 IST

President Hosni Mubarak's hold on power looked tenuous on Tuesday as more than 200,000 Egyptians rallied in central Cairo against his three-decade, one-man rule.

Following are some facts about Mubarak:

* Mubarak, 82, was thrust into office when Islamists gunned down his predecessor Anwar Sadat at a military parade in 1981. The burly former air force commander has proved a far more durable leader than anyone imagined at the time.

* The president has long promoted peace abroad and more recently backed economic reforms at home led by his cabinet under Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif. But he has always kept a tight lid on political opposition.

* He has resisted any significant political change even under pressure from the United States, which has poured billions of dollars of military and other aid into Egypt since it became the first Arab state to make peace with Israel, signing a treaty in 1979.

* Mubarak won the first multi-candidate presidential election in 2005 although the outcome was never in doubt and his main rival came a distant second. Rights groups and observers said the election was marred by irregularities.

* In last November's parliamentary elections, Mubarak's ruling party gained around 90 percent of seats in parliament that saw the main Islamist opposition lose all its 88 seats, securing Mubarak's ruling party a rubber-stamp parliament and tightening the Mubarak grip on power.

* However since the fall of Tunisia's long-time leader Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, which triggered protests around the region, the enraged Egyptians have been demonstrating against rising prices, poverty, unemployment and their authoritarian regime.

* This has pushed the beleaguered president into promising reform, sacking his cabinet and appointing a vice-president, a post that has not been filled since he came to power.

* Mubarak's grip on Egypt now looks slimmer as the army -- his backer -- pledged not to confront protesters who have been converging on Cairo demanding an end to his rule.