Eventually, election day arrived. After most of a year of frustration about their political future, Egyptians went to the polls in the tens of thousands to cast their ballots for new members of the government. It was the first of a scheduled three rounds of elections, after which a new parliament will sit and wait for a new president, who will be elected in June 2012.
Ruling the country in the meantime will be the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which has been firmly in control since the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak after decades in power.
The unrest began in the wake of the revolution in nearby Tunisia. Protesters gathered in the thousands in Cairo's Tahrir Square and in other places and cities, speaking out against Mubarak and his authoritarian regime. The crowds were so large day after day and the pressure from outside the country so immense that Mubarak and his government tried to appease the protesters, offering a large number of concessions, including a 15-percent pay increase to public workers. Some party leaders even resigned their posts.
But the crowds only grew larger and more determined to take action. On February 9, workers in the thousands went on strike. Other world leaders echoed the protesters' sentiments, and the Egyptian army did little to dissuade the sometimes massive protests. Mubarak gave up some of his presidential powers, but it wasn't enough. In the end, with few friends left, Mubarak resigned and fled to his seaside chalet.
Angry at what they saw as the still slow pace of reformer, protesters took to the streets anew, with the result being more clashes with police. The ruling generals issued a statement saying that they would retain their power after elections, which convinced the protesters that what was needed was even more unrest.
The interim government resigned, and the ruling generals, who had just finished announcing a referendum on their power transfer, named yet another interim prime minister, a further cause for alarm in Tahrir Square. The result was more confrontations and more disbelief in the generals' true post-election intentions.