The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest unsanctioned political organisation, announced today that it would set up a political party if existing restrictions are lifted. The Muslim Brotherhood has been banned in Egypt for over a half-century. In 2007, just to make sure, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak ammended the constitution to stipulate that no political party could be based on religion. The FT reports:
Rashad Bayoumi, the Brotherhood’s deputy leader, told the Financial Times that the envisioned party would have Islam as its frame of reference, but it “would not be a religious party”.
“We do not have the concept of a religious party, or of a government of religious scholars [like in Iran],” said Mr Bayoumi. “All this is very far from Islam. We say that when we differ over anything we should refer to the Koran. But if matters stray away from the principles of mercy, freedom and social justice, then this would be against religion.
“A healthy society should have civilian rule, multipartyism and the alternance of power.”
The Brotherhood, however, has made clear in two recent statements that it will not field its own candidate for the presidency. In an attempt to assuage fears that in a more democratic system it would get a head-start over more secular parties, which are disorganized and discredited, it has also said that it would not attempt to gain a majority in parliamentary elections.
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