Police general and provincial governor
Salem graduated from military training, in which he for the Police General and commander of the police rose in 1964 by Alexandria. As such, he was also national security adviser to President Gamal Abdel Nasser.
In 1967 he became governor of the province of Asyut. Then he was in 1970 initially short time Governor of the province of Al - Gharbiyya before he was in the same year Governor of the province of Al - Iskandariyya (Alexandria ).
Ascent to the prime minister under President Sadat
In 1971 he was appointed by President Anwar al-Sadat of the Interior in his cabinet. In this role he was also a member of the Central Committee ( CC) of the Unity Party of Arab Socialist Union. Within a few months he got in 1972 in addition to the Deputy Prime Minister.
When it came to nationwide violence by food cuts and a rise in inflation, he was appointed by President Sadat on 16 April 1975 as the successor of Abd al- Aziz Muhammad Hidschazi prime minister. Salem, a loyal supporter of Sadat's peace policy, formed in 1977, the first multi-party government. In 1978 he united his Arab Socialist Party and the National Democratic Party of newly founded Sadat. On 2 October 1978 he came unexpectedly, as Prime Minister, after he found out that Sadat wanted to appoint a new government after several ministers of Salem's Cabinet had resigned in protest against the Camp David agreement with Israel.
Under the successor of Sadat, Hosni Mubarak, he was temporarily Präsidialberater.