Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Egypt Presidential Candidate: Ahmed Shafiq, Former Mubarak Man

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Egypt Presidential Candidate: Ahmed Shafiq, Former Mubarak Man

Article excerpt

Supporters see in Ahmed Shafiq a former military man who can restore stability after a chaotic 18 months. But others charge their revolution could end with a Mubarak man becoming president.

In just a year and a half, Ahmed Shafiq went from a sacked prime minister tainted by his association with ousted leader Hosni Mubarak to a final contender in Egypt's first post-revolution presidential election.

After winning nearly 24 percent of the votes in the first round of the election, he advanced to a June runoff against Muslim Brotherhood member Mohammad Morsi.

His swift comeback shocked many in Egypt. It likely owes much to the deterioration of security in Egypt since the uprising that displaced Mr. Mubarak, and Shafiq's background in the military and image as a strongman capable of bringing Egypt back under control.

Shafiq, like Mubarak before him, came into politics by way of the Air Force. He graduated from Egypt's Air Force Academy in 1961, and fought in Egypt's wars with Israel in subsequent years. His campaign recently claimed that during the "War of Attrition" with Israel between 1967 and 1970, he shot down two Israeli planes. He rose through the ranks to become commander of the Air Force. According to an official biography, he has a master's degree in "military sciences" and a PhD in the "national strategy of outer space," though it is not specified from which institution.

Mubarak appointed Shafiq minister of civil aviation in 2002, tasking him with turning around the ailing national airline. He also oversaw renovations and additions to Cairo's airport.

In the waning years of Mubarak's regime, his name was sometimes mentioned as a possible successor to the aging president. In January 2011, days after massive protests against Mubarak began, the embattled president appointed Shafiq prime minister in a cabinet reshuffle. …

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