(Reuters) - Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak, under pressure from mass demonstrations, said on Tuesday he would not run for the presidency again and would work in the last months of his term to allow the transfer of power.
A presidential election is due in September.
Following are some facts about Mubarak:
* Mubarak, 82, was thrust into office when Islamists gunned down his predecessor Anwar Sadat at a military parade in 1981. The burly former air force commander has proved a far more durable leader than anyone imagined at the time.
* The president has long promoted peace abroad and more recently backed economic reforms at home led by his cabinet under Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif. But he has always kept a tight lid on political opposition.
* He has resisted any significant political change even under pressure from the United States, which has poured billions of dollars of military and other aid into Egypt since it became the first Arab state to make peace with Israel, signing a treaty in 1979.
* Mubarak won the first multi-candidate presidential election in 2005 although the outcome was never in doubt and his main rival came a distant second. Rights groups and observers said the election was marred by irregularities.
* In last November’s parliamentary elections, Mubarak’s ruling party gained around 90 percent of seats in parliament that saw the main Islamist opposition lose all its 88 seats, securing Mubarak’s ruling party a rubber-stamp parliament and tightening the Mubarak grip on power.
* Since the fall of Tunisia’s long-time leader Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, which triggered protests around the region, Egyptians have been demonstrating against rising prices, poverty, unemployment and their authoritarian regime. Demonstrators demand he step down.
* Mubarak, in a television address, stops short of agreeing to resign but says he will not run again for the presidency.
Writing by Edmund Blair; Additional writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit; Editing by Maria Golovnina