Egyptian workers who mobilised during the 2011 uprising that toppled the regime of Hosni Mubarak have used the past two and a half years to organise into unions, press for labour reforms, and strike for better wages and working conditions.
The ongoing crackdown on Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi has prompted some analysts to warn of the apparent resurgence of the Mubarak-era police state.
Regardless of who is responsible for Egypt's current political impasse – be it the administration of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi or an aggressive secular opposition – local experts are certain of at least one fact: Egypt's dire economic circumstances will not improve without political stability.
After 18 months of talks, on Wednesday Egypt's government formally requested a 4.8-billion-dollar loan from the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF), hoping to stabilise an economy that has continued to badly stutter in the aftermath of the popular uprising that led to the downfall of former President Hosni Mubarak.
Egyptians are returning to the polls this weekend to choose between Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi and Ahmed Shafiq, ousted president Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister, in a hotly-contested presidential runoff.
Candidates competing in Egypt's first presidential election since Hosni Mubarak was ousted are vying for a prestigious position whose job description – oddly enough – has not yet been written. An unresolved dispute over who will write a new constitution for post-Mubarak Egypt has put the country in the unusual position of voting for a president with undefined authority.
As Egyptians head to the polls Wednesday and Thursday to elect the country's first post-Mubarak president, local analysts say that voting results - even on the very eve of the balloting - remain impossible to predict.
More than 15 months after Egypt's Tahrir Square uprising and four months after free parliamentary polls, many Egyptians say that daily living conditions are worse now than they were in the Mubarak era.