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Profile: Mubarak Has Ruled Virtually Unchallenged for 24 Years


Hosni Mubarak assumed Egypt's presidency in 1981, succeeding President Anwar Sadat, following his assassination by Islamic radicals.

Mr. Mubarak, sometimes referred to as "the boss" or "the last Pharaoh" has ruled virtually unchallenged for 24 years, being returned to office every six years in referendums in which he was the only candidate.

In February, he ordered parliament to amend the constitution to allow the country's first multi-candidate presidential election.

Critics accuse the 77-year-old leader of the ruling National Democratic Party of responsibility for high unemployment, and the absence of political and economic reforms. But supporters say he has guided Egypt through more than two decades free of war in a turbulent region.

Before entering politics, Mr. Mubarak rose through the ranks of the Air Force until he took command of the service in 1972. He later served as Egypt's Vice-President before assuming the presidency.

Some information provided by AP and AFP.