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Facts on Egypt

world Updated: Feb 11, 2011 03:26 IST
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Basic facts about Egypt, the Arab world's most populous country, which has been rocked since January 25 by unprecedented protests against the regime of President Hosni Mubarak, who has ruled for more than 29 years.

Mubarak on Thursday delegated power to his deputy Omar Suleiman and proposed constitutional reforms, but said the transition to end his reign would last until September.

The Arab Republic of Egypt is located on Africa's northeast corner, with the Sinai peninsula bridging over into Asia.

Washed to the north by the Mediterranean Sea and the east by the Red Sea, Egypt borders Libya to the west, Sudan to the south, and Israel and the Gaza Strip to the east.

Area: 997,738 square kilometres (385,228 square miles).

Population: About 83 million.

Capital: Cairo.

Religion: Most Egyptians are Sunni Muslim. Islam is the state religion. Coptic Christians make up six to 10 percent of the population.

After a period of British rule, Egypt gained independence in 1922 under the reign of King Fuad I.

In 1952, Gamal Abdel Nasser overthrew the king and a republic was declared on June 18, 1953, headed by Mohamed Naguib. Nasser became president in 1956, the same year the Suez Canal was nationalised.

After Nasser's death in 1970, his vice president Anwar Sadat took over as president. Sadat became the first Arab head of state to sign a peace treaty with Israel (1979). He was assassinated two years later by Islamists.

Hosni Mubarak became president in 1981.

Political institutions:
A presidential system, with the president serving unlimited six-year terms.

In May 2005, constitutional reforms led to the first ever multi-party elections. Four months later Mubarak was re-elected for a fifth term. New presidential elections are scheduled for September 2011.

Egypt has a bicameral legislature overwhelmingly dominated by the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP).

The People's Assembly (Magles al-Shaab) is responsible for passing laws and supervising the government.

Members are elected every five years in popular ballots rights groups say are consistently marked by fraud and intimidation in favour of government candidates.

Egypt's main opposition groups, the Muslim Brotherhood and liberal Wafd party, refused to take part in runoff parliamentary elections in December 2010 after the NDP swept 209 out of 211 seats in a November 28 first round of voting.

Since January 25 Egypt has been confronted by unprecedented political unrest, with demonstrators calling for political, economic and social reforms.

A state of emergency has been in force for nearly 30 years.

Egypt currently produces more than 700,000 barrels of oil per day. Proven oil reserves stood at 4.07 billion barrels in 2009, putting Egypt in sixth place in Africa.

Gas: About 55 billion cubic metres of natural gas per year.

Tourism: A record of more than 14.7 million tourists visited Egypt in 2010 (tourism ministry).

Suez Canal: Revenues from the Suez Canal were 4.3 billion dollars in 2009, down from 5.4 billion in 2008 (Suez Canal Authority).

Gross domestic product: 188.3 billion dollars (World Bank, 2009)

Gross national income per capita: 2,270 dollars (World Bank, 2009)

Currency: Egyptian pound.

Military: 468,500 active soldiers according to the International Institute of Strategic Studies in London. 397,000 paramilitaries.

Websites: www.presidency.gov.eg (presidency), www.mfa.gov.eg (foreign ministry), www.mof.gov.eg (finance ministry).