One of the Arab world’s longest-serving leaders, Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak, stepped down Friday after 18 days of protests that continued to gain steam until the opposition’s No. 1 demand — his departure — was met.
The 82-year-old leader’s announcement came a day after he ceded some authorities over to Vice President Omar Suleiman, which did little to quell the protests that had taken hold around the country.
Economic problems, including high inflation, low wages and job losses, spurred the discontent in Egypt, which evolved into full-scale revolution earlier this year. On Jan. 25, anti-government protests began to spread across Egypt, partly inspired by mass demonstrations in Tunisia that ousted President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and energized by social media services.
In response to the uprising, Mubarak said on Feb. 1 he would not run for a sixth term and had no intention of his son Gamal succeeding him. But the demonstrators, involving older activists, doctors, striking workers and youth, continued to press for his leaving office, planting themselves in Cairo’s Tahrir Square and crowding the entrance to Parliament, until he acquiesced on Feb. 11.
Suleiman delivered the one-line message on state television while Mubarak was believed to be in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh with his family. The crowds in Tahrir Square went wild at the news, waving Egyptian flags and chanting “Egypt is free.”
Mubarak had a background of formal military training before becoming president for 30 years.
View milestones of his life and career:
May 4, 1928: Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak is born in Kafr-El-Meselha, Monufia Governorate, Egypt.
Feb. 2, 1949: Receives his bachelor’s degree in military sciences from the Egyptian Military Academy
March 13, 1950: After joining the Air Force Academy, Mubarak gets commissioned as a pilot officer and later receives a bachelor’s degree in aviation sciences.
1959-1961: Attends a Soviet training school in Moscow and Kant Air Base in the then-Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan
1964: Joins the Frunze Military Academy in Soviet Union
1966: Serves in commander positions at Cairo West Air Base and Beni Suef Air Base
November 1967: Becomes Air Force Academy’s commander
1968: Director of the Air Force Academy
1969: Becomes chief of staff of Egyptian Air Force
1972: Becomes commander of Egyptian Air Force and Egyptian deputy minister of defense
1974: Promoted to lieutenant general/air marshal
1975: Appointed vice president by President Anwar El Sadat
Oct. 14, 1981: Becomes president after the assassination of President Anwar El Sadat
1987, 1993 and 1999: Re-elected to second, third and fourth terms
2005: Re-elected to fifth term in first election with multiple candidates. Previously, Egyptians voted yes or no to a single candidate selected by Parliament.
Feb. 1, 2011: Announces he will not seek another term as president in fall elections a week after massive protests rock Egyptian cities, including Cairo
Feb. 11, 2011: In a televised address to the nation, Vice President Omar Suleiman says Mubarak will leave office.