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June 2, 2012 | By Jeffrey Fleishman and Amro Hassan, Los Angeles Times
CAIRO - The life sentence imposed on toppled President Hosni Mubarak for complicity in the deaths of hundreds of protesters marks an unprecedented milestone in Egypt's path toward democracy yet serves as a reminder of the political limitations challenging rebellions that have swept the Arab world. Mubarak epitomized the calculating autocrat, and Saturday's verdict reverberated across a region that has seldom seen the strong so precipitously tumble in popular revolt. But behind the image of the disgraced leader propped up on a stretcher in the defendants' cage remains a nation not fully free of his grasp.
May 27, 2012 | By Jeffrey Fleishman and Amro Hassan, Los Angeles Times
CAIRO - Egypt's presidential candidates were busy Saturday polishing sound bites and stretching the facts a bit as they re-marketed themselves as guardians of the uprising that overthrew Hosni Mubarak and led to the nation's first free election for a leader in history. The campaigns of Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi and former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik sought to broaden their appeal before their runoff election next month. Neither man is regarded as epitomizing the spirit of the revolution - Shafik was prime minister during the deadly crackdowns on protesters days before Mubarak fell last year - but politics is often about image readjustment.
May 26, 2012 | By Jeffrey Fleishman and Amro Hassan, Los Angeles Times
CAIRO - Egypt's two most polarizing presidential candidates appeared headed for a runoff election next month that will decide whether the nation will be ruled by an ascendant political Islam or return to the secularist spirit that defined Hosni Mubarak's toppled police state. Official results in Egypt's first free presidential election are expected to be released in coming days. But independent vote counts Friday indicated that Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi would battle Ahmed Shafik, the last prime minister to serve Mubarak, in a June contest certain to enthrall the entire Middle East.
May 24, 2012 | By Jeffrey Fleishman, Los Angeles Times
CAIRO - Seizing a moment in history they never imagined, the two old men walked arm in arm into a polling station on a day that was thoroughly and wonderfully Egyptian: Opinion polls were unreliable, intrigue was high, and there was a sense of destiny to rekindle the grandeur of the nation's ancient past. But it was also unlike any other day in this troubled land that has veered from euphoria to disgust to resilience: The name Hosni Mubarak wasn't on the ballot, and the two men didn't already know the outcome when they walked into the polling booth in an election that was as thrilling as it was unpredictable.
May 20, 2012 | By Jeffrey Fleishman, Los Angeles Times
CAIRO - The race for Egypt's president is tightening as a surge by a former prime minister has raised fresh conspiracy theories that remnants of deposed leader Hosni Mubarak's regime are angling for power. The first round of voting begins Wednesday, but many Egyptians are still undecided in what is largely a contest between Islamists and two men connected to the old regime. The drama has been intensified by a last-minute swell in popularity for Ahmed Shafik, a retired air force general appointed prime minister in the weeks before Mubarak's government fell last year.
May 11, 2012 | By Jeffrey Fleishman and Amro Hassan, Los Angeles Times
CAIRO — Egyptians gathered in living rooms and cafes Thursday night to mark another first in their troubled political odyssey toward a new democracy: a televised presidential debate that was as captivating as it was surreal. The two leading candidates, former Foreign Minister Amr Moussa and Islamist favorite Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, clashed in an exchange that would have been fiction during the 30-year rule of deposed President Hosni Mubarak. The spectacle was a rare moment in a region enthralled by Arab uprisings but largely dominated by autocrats and political uncertainty.
April 24, 2012 | By Jeffrey Fleishman, Los Angeles Times
CAIRO - The decorum of diplomacy has devolved into embarrassing headlines and testy one-liners in the increasingly strained relations between Egypt and Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that Egypt's Sinai peninsula had become a "kind of Wild West" overrun by militants, terrorists and arms smugglers. Over the weekend, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman had suggested massing more Israeli troops along the border with Egypt. That drew a bit of mafia parlance from Egypt's military ruler, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi: "Our borders, especially the northeast ones, are inflamed.
April 22, 2012 | By Steven Zeitchik, Los Angeles Times
CAIRO - When filmmaker and Egyptian democracy activist Amr Salama watched Hosni Mubarak's regime collapse in 2011, he couldn't have been more heartened. Salama had been making films for years and had found himself hamstrung by the government's censorship board. This was finally the opportunity he'd been waiting for. So shortly after the regime fell, Salama resubmitted a script that had been rejected under Mubarak - one whose story centered on tension between Cairo's majority Muslim population and its Coptic Christian minority.
April 14, 2012 | By Jeffrey Fleishman, Los Angeles Times
CAIRO - Egypt's volatile presidential race was jolted Saturday when the election commission disqualified three controversial front-runners - the nation's former spy chief and two impassioned Islamists - just five weeks before voters go to the polls. The commission removed Omar Suleiman, the intelligence director under deposed President Hosni Mubarak; Khairat Shater, a leading voice for the ascendant Muslim Brotherhood; and Hazem Salah abu Ismail, an ultraconservative Salafi Islamist with wide populist appeal.
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