He rapidly rose to the top of his father's ruling National Democratic Party to become its de facto boss on the eve of his father's ouster, when he also was effectively running Egypt's day-to-day affairs. At the time of the uprising, there was growing anxiety in Egypt that his succession was imminent. That anxiety is seen as one of the key sparks for the uprising that overthrew Mubarak.
Many of Gamal's closest allies are among some three dozen regime stalwarts in detention facing charges of corruption. Some of them have been convicted and sentenced to prison terms.
The new charges came two days after Shafiq was officially declared one of two top vote-getters in the first round of presidential elections held on May 23-24. Shafiq and the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Morsi will now go head-to-hear in a runoff vote on June 16-17. The winner will be announced June 21, the last step before the generals are due to hand over power.
A Shafiq presidency would mean the continuation of de facto military rule in Egypt, where all four presidents since the overthrow of the monarchy nearly 60 years have been of military background.
Shafiq's qualification to the runoff has angered many Egyptians who see him as an extension of the old regime and an affront to the uprising that, among other things, sought to end military rule. Several hundred protesters stormed, vandalized and set ablaze his campaign headquarters in Cairo late on Monday night, just hours after the official results were announced.
Other protesters in Cairo and a string of cities in northern Egypt tore down his campaign posters.
Michael Hanna, an Egypt expert from the New York-based Century Foundation, said the announcement of new charges is the latest measure by the ruling generals who took over from Mubarak against their old regime rivals — Gamal Mubarak, his brother along with the businessmen and politicians who threw their weight behind the succession scheme. The military primarily opposed the succession because it would end the military's decades-old grip on the land's highest office.
"Today's announcement fits a pattern of prosecuting politicians and businessmen viewed by the military as a threat to its interests when it has been nearly impossible to convict policeman accused of killing protesters."
Earlier Wednesday, a criminal court convicted and sentenced to five years in prison a policeman for his part in the shooting death of 18 protesters on January 28, last year, the bloodiest day of the uprising. Mohammed el-Sunni had been sentenced to death earlier when he was on the run. Thursday's verdict came after a retrial that followed his surrender to authorities.
But his conviction followed multiple court cases in which policemen charged with killing protesters have been acquitted or received light sentences.
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