Muslim Brotherhood plans to form political party but won’t field presidential candidate

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

CAIRO - The Muslim Brotherhood, the banned Islamic group that is considered as Egypt’s main political opposition, has said that it would form a political party once democracy is established in Cairo, but promised not to field a presidential candidate this time.

Egypt’s ousted President Hosni Mubarak had long viewed the Brotherhood as the main political rival and initiated the renewal of a crackdown since 2005, after the group promoted independent candidates in parliamentary elections and won a number of seats, The New York Times reports.

On Tuesday, the Brotherhood had released a statement on its website saying that it “envisions the establishment of a democratic, civil state that draws on universal measures of freedom and justice, with central Islamic values serving all Egyptians regardless of color, creed, political trend or religion.”

The paper quoted leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood as saying that it would not field a presidential candidate in this year’s election to replace Mubarak.

“It’s time for solidarity, it’s time for unity; in my opinion we need a national consensus,” Essam el-Erian, a senior leader of the Brotherhood, said.

Although the current Constitution bars any political party based on a religious identity to form a legally recognized party, the military government has said that a panel of experts would make some changes in the constitution over the next 10 days to include a member from the banned group, the paper said.

After being banned in 1954, the Brotherhood has been operating as a de facto political party for over a decade, and running independent candidates having the same kind of ideologies like that of the group, it added.

In the 2005 elections, the Brotherhood had won 88 seats in Parliament, or about 20 percent of the total, but the Mubarak government pushed the group out during the last elections, which is widely seen fraudulent. (ANI)

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