As the Egyptian protest enters its ninth day in Cairo the organizers have announced an indefinite general strike and called for a march of a million in the Egyptian capital on Tuesday. There is a mounting pressure on the president Hosni Mubark to relinquish the post and pave way for new leadership.
So far the Egyptian uprising has resulted in more than 120 deaths due to clashes between demonstrators and the police.
To sustain the pressure on the Hosni Mubarak regime, another million-strong march was planned in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, as national train services were cancelled in an apparent bid to stymie protests.
If the dissidence succeeds in overthrowing the government, who would be the next leader? Here is a list of contenders:
Mohamed El Baradei
The 68-year-old former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), returned to Egypt in 2010 after a career that saw him win a Nobel peace prize in 2005. A lawyer by training, he immediately threw himself into the political arena saying Egypt needed a complete overhaul and an end to the authoritarian rule of a military man like Mubarak. He disappointed many democracy activists by spending much time outside the country in recent months, but returned on Thursday stating he was ready to take any role in a transitional government and later addressing protesters at Tahrir Square in central Cairo.
A liberal politician and trained lawyer, Nour was Mubarak's rival in the 2005 presidential election but suffered for his impertinence. He was jailed after conviction for submitting forged documents when setting up his Ghad (Tomorrow) party. He was released after serving more than three years of a five-year term. The law as it stands bans him any political office for at least five years after the end of his original jail term, which would rule out running in elections in September. Nour served previously as a parliamentarian for the Wafd party, which he left.
The secretary general of the Arab League was a popular foreign minister under Mubarak, celebrated by singers for his populist pro-Palestinian rhetoric during years of Arab-Israeli peacemaking. His move to the Arab League, a conservative organisation that backs existing Arab rulers, has tarnished his image somewhat but he has been cited in the past by many Egyptians as someone they would support as president. He has been vocal since the protests began, saying on Sunday he wanted to see multi-party democracy in Egypt.
Badie, 66, became leader of Egypt's biggest opposition group last year. The Brotherhood is run on a collegiate basis, with a number of figures who often speak in its name such as Essam al-Erian or London-based Kamel El-Helbawy. But if it were to enter into talks with the government it would be on the authorization of its murshid 'aam, or general guide, Badie. Badie is seen as a conservative, in the typical mould of Brotherhood leaders, who was reluctant to challenge the authorities for fear of provoking more repression. Mubarak has made fending off the Islamists a major plank of his policies, accusing them of subverting last week's protests and provoking the looting and disorder. The government says the Brotherhood is a banned organization but allows it to operate within limits.
Egyptian winner of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1999, Zewail said last year he had no political ambitions. However, newspapers said on Monday he would return on Tuesday to continue work in a committee for constitutional reform including Ayman Nour and prominent lawyers. Al-Shorouk newspaper published a letter to the Egyptian people in which he proposed a council of wise men to write a new constitution.
A popular Arab nationalist politician who leads the Karama party that has never achieved formal licencing from the government. Elected to parliament in 2005, Sabahi considered running in the presidential elections that year after Mubarak introduced amendments under pressure from Washington but later changed his mind. He was expected to attempt a bid for the presidency this year.
Respected trade union leader George Ishak founded the Kefaya movement in 2004 that galvanised protests against Mubarak's rule in 2005 around the idea of rejecting his son Gamal as a future president. The movement, which appealed to middle class professionals, subsequently lost its momentum amid internal dissent but when protests began last week Kefaya appeared to play a role in mobilising them.