Egypt is entering the next stage of its transition with parliamentary elections, the first since massive street protests forced former President Hosni Mubarak to resign in February.
The complex, staggered polls to elect parliament's lower house begin on November 28 and conclude in early January. Elections for the upper house end in March, after which the newly elected assembly will write a new constitution.
The head of the ruling military council, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi said on November 28 the country is at a crossroads and can choose either successful elections "leading Egypt towards safety" or face dangerous hurdles that the armed forces "will not allow." He also warned of "extremely grave" consequences if the country's current political turmoil does not end quickly.
Field Marshall Tantawi's warning came as thousands of demonstrators filled Cairo's Tahrir Square for another massive protest on November 27 demanding that Egypt's military immediately cede power to a "national salvation government" that would run the country until a president is elected.
A number of the revolutionary youth groups leading the protests have proposed that opposition leader and Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei head an interim civilian administration with deputies from across the political spectrum. The proposed body would replace the ruling military council in supervising Egypt's transition to democracy.