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 say the 77-year-old leader of the ruling National Democratic Party is responsible for high unemployment and the absence of political and economic reforms. But supporters say Egypt, under his leadership, has enjoyed more than two decades of relative peace in an otherwise 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.