After a career as a fighter pilot
, and squadron, wing and group commander, Shafik was the Commander of the Egyptian Air Force from 1996 to 2002, reaching the rank of air marshal
. Thereafter he served in the government as Minister of Civil Aviation
from 2002 to 2011.
He was appointed as prime minister by President Hosni Mubarak
on 29 January 2011 in response to the 2011 Egyptian Revolution
, making him the last prime minister to serve as part of Mubarak's administration.
He remained in office for only one month, resigning on 3 March 2011, one day after a contentious talk show confrontation in which Alaa Al Aswany
, a prominent Egyptian novelist, accused him of being a Mubarak regime holdover.
Early life and education
Shafik was born in the Heliopolis district
on 25 November 1941.
His parents were prominent members of Egyptian society, with his father, Mohamed Shafiq Zaki, serving as undersecretary at the ministry of irrigation and his mother, Naja Alwi, being the daughter of a noted ophthalmologist
. After completing his schooling at the Heliopolis Secondary School, he attended the Egyptian Air Academy
from where he graduated in 1962 at the age of 21 and became a member of the Egyptian Air Force
Later in his career, he gained a master's degree
in military science
; a Fellowship
of High War College from Nasser Military Academy
; a Fellowship of Combined Arms from the High War College in Paris; a Fellowship of the National Defense College from Nasser Military Academy
; and a PhD
in "The National Strategy of Outer-Space". Air Marshal Ahmed Shafik received the highest medals and merits during his service.
As a young officer, Shafik served as a Mig-19
fighter pilot and was later appointed as fighter air squadron commander. During the War of Attrition
(1967–1970), Shafik saw active service as the Multi-Task Airwing Commander. Subsequently, he took up a post as an air base commander.
During the 1973 October War
, Shafik was a senior fighter pilot under Hosni Mubarak
's command. Shafik shot down two Israeli aircraft during the war on 14 October 1973.
During his 40 years of service in the Egyptian Air Force as a fighter pilot, he flew several types of fighter jets including the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17, Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-19, Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 and the Dassault Mirage 2000; he also acted as the wing commander for the Egyptian Air Force acrobatic team. He is also fully qualified on the American-built McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II and the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon.
In 1984, Shafik was appointed military attaché in the Egyptian Embassy in Rome
. He continued in this role until 1986. In 1986, he was promoted to Air Commodore
and became commander of a Group and Mig-21 Airbase. During the CSF conscription riot of 1986, President Mubarak
wanted the Armed Forces to crush the revolt. He relied on the Air Force to intimidate and bomb some CSF rebels in Cairo and in Upper Egypt. The commander who was tasked with the actual execution of the operation was Brigadier/Air Commodore Ahmed Shafik, as Deputy Chief of Operations (Fighter-Bomber) for the Central Air Region. From 1988 to 1991, Shafik served several military senior command positions before he was appointed as the Commander of the Air Operations Department.
In September 1991, Shafik was appointed as the Air Force's Chief of Staff
, holding this position until April 1996, when he became Commander of the Egyptian Air Force. In 2002 he resigned from military service and was succeeded by his chief-of-staff Air Marshal Magdy Galal Sharawi
After retiring from the Air Force, Shafiq became the Minister of Civil Aviation
on 18 September 2002, not long after the Ministry's formation.
Whilst he was the minister for civil aviation, he oversaw improvements in EgyptAir
and helped construct a new third terminal at Cairo International Airport
which was completed in 2008 and opened for commercial operations on 27 April 2009.
He continued the position until succeeding Ahmed Nazif
as the Prime Minister of Egypt on 29 January 2011.
During the course of the Egyptian Revolution of 2011
, Shafik was named prime minister by then president Hosni Mubarak on 29 January 2011.
Shafik's period in office as prime minister was short-lived, lasting just over a month, after he resigned on 3 March due to pressure from protestors and the opposition. They had objected to Shafik staying on as PM, having been seen as one of Mubarak's old guard.
Shafik was alleged to have been a member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces
that took over power after Mubarak's departure on 11 February 2011, although initial reporting only reflected a poor understanding of the makeup of the SCAF immediately following Mubarak's fall.
Shafik was succeeded by Essam Sharaf
after he stepped down.
Shafik resigned from office one day after a contentious interview on the Egyptian ONTV
satellite network in which he was confronted by Alaa Al Aswany
, author of The Yacoubian Building
, on Reem Maged
's talk show Baladna bel Masry
. Al Aswany was highly critical of Shafik during the broadcast, representing one of the first televised public criticisms of a high-ranking government official in Egyptian history. At one point, Al Aswany said about Shafik, "if your son had been one of those who got run over by the police cars, you would not have remained silent like that."
Al Aswany furthermore accused Shafik of being a holdover of the regime that Egyptians had struggled to topple, and that he was unfit to represent Egyptians in the post-revolution era.
On 10 July, Shafik made his first public appearance since resigning as prime minister. He attended the graduation ceremony of the Egyptian Air Force Academy class along with the Chief of Staff of the Egyptian Armed Forces.
Egyptian presidential election, 2012
In November 2011, Shafik announced his candidacy in the Egyptian presidential elections
Shafik's candidacy sparked controversy and protest within Egypt, with many considering him to be a holdover of the Mubarak regime. Shafik's remark that he considers former president Hosni Mubarak to be a "role model" was particularly controversial.
At one campaign event, a protester hurled shoes at him, although Shafik was not struck.
Shafik's candidacy was noted as supported by many in Egypt's Coptic Christian
minority who are opposed to Islamist candidates in the election.
Along with the Muslim Brotherhood
's Freedom and Justice Party
candidate Mohamed Morsi
, Shafik was one of two candidates who survived the first round of voting on 23–24 May, coming in behind Morsi. The second and final round of voting was held on 16–17 June 2012. Allegations have arisen that the interior ministry handed out over 900,000 ID cards to Egyptian soldiers so that they could vote for Shafik, which would be a major campaign violation. Fellow presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi
, who finished in third place in the first round of voting, asked for the Egyptian election to be temporarily suspended until an investigation could be carried out.
On 28 May 2012, protesters angry at Shafik's advancement to the second round of voting set fire to an office associated with his campaign in Cairo
. Fellow candidate Khaled Ali
said while participating in a protest against the election results in Tahrir Square
that Tahrir had "toppled Mubarak, and would topple Shafik".
The election contest between Shafik and Morsi had been described as a "choice between two of Egypt's most polarizing politicians", and some activists resorted to participation in a hunger strike to protest his candidacy.
Shafik's presidential campaign was characterized by an emphasis on public order and security, and although the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces
did not endorse a candidate, American news outlet McClatchy Newspapers
pointed to the "conspicuous presence of sympathetic security forces at his campaign stops" as evidence of his close relationship with the military.
Shafik used his campaign events to court Egyptian elites and voters wary of an Islamist-led government. He reportedly suggested that he would employ executions and "brutal force" to restore order in the country within a month of taking office.
On 24 June, the High Presidential Electoral Commission, headed by Farouk Sultan
, announced Shafik's narrow defeat by his bitter rival Morsi, with 48.27% of the vote for the former, compared to Morsi's 51.73%.
In the hours following his defeat, it was widely reported that Shafiq and his family flew out to Abu Dhabi
, wary of potential charges of financial irregularities and electoral fraud, a move he later confirmed on Sky News
Shafik alleged that the election was flawed; Public Prosecutor Abdel Meguid Mahmoud has called for an investigation into the claims.
In August 2013, former Israeli negotiator Yossi Beilin
stated that an Egyptian official had told him that the true results of the election were in favor of Shafik, but the military gave the presidency to Morsi out of fear of unrest.
Launch of new political party
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Last edited on 10 April 2021, at 18:29
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