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Egypt's new prime minister is former Air Force commander

In this still image taken from video, Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak , left, and vice-president Omar Suleiman, centre, hold a meeting with top commanders in Cairo on Sunday.


The other Mubarak insider elevated in the Egyptian government shake-up is former Air Force commander and head of civil aviation, Ahmed Shafik, who was promoted to head the new Egyptian government as prime minister. He replaced Ahmed Nazif, who took on the job in 2004 and was forced to step down following the recent unrest.

Mr. Shafik, who like President Hosni Mubarak served in the Air Force, was first appointed minister in 2002, after years in the military. He saw active duty, even serving for a time under the President.

Born in 1941 to a Cairo family, he has taken a typical career path in Egypt of a military man turned politician, with technocratic posts in between.

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His tenure as head of the civil-aviation authority was largely seen as effective and witnessed a shake-up of the national carrier, EgyptAir. Mr. Shafik also revamped some of the country's airports as tourism is a major source of foreign capital for Egypt.

Egypt's prime ministers remains heavily dependent on the president during their tenure, as Mr. Mubarak has the right to dismiss the cabinet and is often seen as directly steering the government.

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