Ahmed Shafik

Ahmed Mohamed Shafik Zaki[note 1] (Arabic: أحمد محمد شفيق زكى‎, IPA: [ˈæħmæd mæˈħæmmæd ʃæˈfiːʔ ˈzæki]; born 25 November 1941) is an Egyptian politician and former presidential candidate. He was a senior commander in the Egyptian Air Force and later served as Prime Minister of Egypt from 29 January 2011 to 3 March 2011.

Ahmed Shafik
أحمد محمد شفيق زكى
الثوار يمزقون لوحة إعلانات مرشح الفلول أحمد شفيق (cropped).jpg
Prime Minister of Egypt
In office
29 January 2011 – 3 March 2011
PresidentHosni Mubarak
Mohamed Hussein Tantawi (Acting)
Preceded byAhmed Nazif
Succeeded byEssam Sharaf
Minister of Civil Aviation
In office
18 September 2002 – 28 January 2011
Prime MinisterAtef Ebeid
Ahmed Nazif
Preceded byAhmed Abdel Rahman Nasser
Succeeded byIbrahim Manaa
Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force
In office
7 April 1996 – 1 March 2002
PresidentHosni Mubarak
Preceded byAhmed Abdel Rahman Nasser
Succeeded byMagdy Galal Sharawi
Personal details
Ahmed Mohamed Shafik Zaki

(1941-11-25) 25 November 1941 (age 79)
Cairo, Egypt
Political partyEgyptian Patriotic Movement[1] (December 2012 - Present)
Spouse(s)Azza Tawfiq[2]
Military service
Branch/service Egyptian Air Force
Years of service1962–2002
RankAir Chief Marshal - Egyptian Air Force rank.png - Air Chief Marshal[3]
Battles/warsNorth Yemen Civil War
Six-Day War
War of Attrition
October War

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.[4] 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.[5]

He narrowly lost out in the 2012 Egyptian presidential elections to Mohamed Morsi, the candidate of the Freedom and Justice Party, gaining 48.27% of the vote, compared to Morsi's 51.73%.

Early life and educationEdit

Shafik was born in the Heliopolis district of Cairo on 25 November 1941.[6][7] 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 (EAF).[8] 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.[9]

Military careerEdit

As a young officer, Shafik served as a Mig-19 and Mig-21 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.[9]

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.[10]

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.[6]

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 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.[9]

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.[9]

Political careerEdit

After retiring from the Air Force, Shafiq became the Minister of Civil Aviation on 18 September 2002, not long after the Ministry's formation.[11] 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.[12] 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.[13] 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.[14] 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.[15] 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."[16] 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.[17]

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.[6]

2012 Egyptian presidential electionEdit

In November 2011, Shafik announced his candidacy in the Egyptian presidential election.[6] 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.[18] At one campaign event, a protester hurled shoes at him, although Shafik was not struck.[19] Shafik's candidacy was noted as supported by many in Egypt's Coptic Christian minority who are opposed to Islamist candidates in the election.[20]

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.[21]

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".[22] 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.[23]

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.[24] 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.[25]

Although preliminary election results indicated that the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate Mohamed Morsi won the second round of elections by a slight margin, the results remained within the margin of error and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, with Shafik claiming victory in the election.[26]

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 called for an investigation into the claims.[27] 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.[28]

Launch of new political partyEdit

Ahmed Shafiq announced that he would launch a new political party, called the Egyptian Patriotic Movement, on 24 September 2012.[1]

2018 Egyptian presidential electionEdit

On 29 November 2017, Ahmed Shafik announced his intention to run in the Egyptian presidential election, but a few hours later announced that the United Arab Emirates prevented him from leaving its territory after announcing his intention to run in the presidential election which was denied by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash and said in a series of tweets on Twitter, that there was "no obstacle" for Shafiq to leave the UAE, and that the UAE was “sad” to learn that Mr. Shafik was ungrateful. "We facilitated matters for him and we have generously welcomed him, despite our strong reservations about some of his stances," Mr. Gargash wrote. On 2 December 2017, Shafiq was deported from the UAE to France. The next day he left France and arrived in Egypt.[29]

On January 7, 2018, Ahmed Shafik withdrew his candidacy, announcing his withdrawal from the presidential race. The New York Times published an article in which it confirmed that the withdrawal of former candidate Ahmed Shafiq the day before the official announcement of the elections was based on threats made by the Egyptian government including corruption charges and prison sentences which was confirmed by Shafik's lawyer. The New York Times confirmed having audio recordings from an officer in one of the Egyptian security services, Ashraf al-Kholi, instructing a number of media professionals to put pressure on public opinion on the former candidate and former head of the air force in order to force him to withdraw from the presidential race.[30]


  1. ^ Also spelled: Shafiq.


  1. ^ a b "Shafiq to launch 'Egyptian Patriotic Movement' political party". Ahram Online. 17 September 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Wife of presidential hopeful Ahmed Shafiq succumbs to illness". 30 April 2012. Retrieved 14 September 2021.
  3. ^ "A Tripartite Agreement to Implement IT Systems in the Ministry of Civil Aviation". Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. 7 March 2005. Retrieved 16 August 2021.
  4. ^ "Egypt protests". Al Jazeera. 29 December 2009. Archived from the original on 29 January 2011. Retrieved 29 January 2011.
  5. ^ Luhnow, David (5 March 2011). "Egypt PM Undone by TV Debate". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
  6. ^ a b c d "Presidential Candidates; Ahmed Shafik Biography". Qomra. Archived from the original on 27 June 2012. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
  7. ^ نبذة عن أحمد شفيق رئيس الوزراء المصري السابق. BBC (in Arabic). 29 January 2011. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
  8. ^ Zaynab al-Baqari (26 May 2012). "Profile: Egyptian presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq". Asharq. Archived from the original on 18 May 2012. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
  9. ^ a b c d "Air Marshal AHMED MOHAMED SHAFIK, Air Force Commander". Egyptian Armed Forces web site. Egyptian Armed Forces, MMC. Archived from the original on 23 October 2012. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
  10. ^ "Ahmed Shafiq: With an iron fist". Ahram. 14 September 2005. Archived from the original on 2 June 2012. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
  11. ^ "Ahmed Shafiq - prime minister of Egypt". britannica.com.
  12. ^ "Egypt presidential candidate: Ahmed Shafiq, former Mubarak man". 1 June 2012 – via Christian Science Monitor.
  13. ^ Sharp, Jeremy M. (11 February 2011). "Egypt: The 25 January Revolution and Implications for U.S. Foreign Policy" (PDF). CRS Report for Congress. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
  14. ^ Fam, Mariam (3 March 2011). "Egyptian Prime Minister Shafik Resigns, Caving into Key Protester Demands". Bloomberg.
  15. ^ "Egypt's military leadership". 11 February 2011. Archived from the original on 12 February 2011. Retrieved 11 February 2011.
  16. ^ "In Egypt, Television Confronts State; TV Wins". Connected in Cairo. 7 March 2011. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
  17. ^ El-Saeed, Youmna (9 March 2011). "The Episode That Toppled an Egyptian Cabinet". OnIslam. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
  18. ^ Editorial (29 May 2012). "Egyptians learn that democracy sometimes produces tough choices". The Post and Courier. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
  19. ^ Hanna Allam (19 May 2012). "Ahmed Shafik, Mubarak's last prime minister, is the surprise contender in Egypt's presidential race". McClatchy Newspaper. Retrieved 22 May 2012.[permanent dead link]
  20. ^ "Egypt's election fever comes to Garbage City". Associated Press via Fox News. 22 May 2012. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
  21. ^ "Egypt's third runner-up seeks election suspension: lawyer". Al Arabiya. 26 May 2012. Archived from the original on 21 June 2012. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
  22. ^ Tom Perry and Ahmed Tolba (28 May 2012). "Egyptians set fire to office of presidential candidate Shafik". Globe and Mail. Toronto. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
  23. ^ Patrick Werr (8 June 2012). "Egyptians protest against ex-premier before election". Reuters. Cairo. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  24. ^ Hannah Alam (17 May 2012). "Ahmed Shafik, Mubarak's last prime minister, is the surprise contender in Egypt's presidential race". McClatchy Newspapers. Archived from the original on 28 May 2012. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
  25. ^ David Kirkpatrick (27 May 2012). "Egyptian Is Counting on Worries of Elites". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
  26. ^ Hussein, Abdel-Rahman (18 June 2012). "Mohamed Morsi claims victory for Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt election". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
  27. ^ "Public prosecutor calls for investigation into Shafiq's vote rigging complaint". Egypt Independent. 11 November 2012. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  28. ^ Yossi Beilin (18 August 2013). "Morsi didn't win the elections". Israel Hayom. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  29. ^ "Ex-General Says U.A.E. Blocks His Return to Egypt to Run for President". The New York Times. 29 November 2017. Retrieved 16 August 2021.
  30. ^ "Egypt's Presidential Race Loses Popular Candidate". The New York Times. 7 January 2018. Retrieved 16 August 2021.
Military offices
Preceded by
Ahmed Abdel Rahman Nasser
Commander of the Egyptian Air Force
Succeeded by
Magdy Galal Sharawi
Political offices
Preceded by
Ahmed Abdel Rahman Nasser
Minister of Civil Aviation
Succeeded by
Ibrahim Manaa
Preceded by
Ahmed Nazif
Prime Minister of Egypt
Succeeded by
Essam Sharaf