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Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood to Launch Political Party

Lauren Frayer | Cairo February 15, 2011

Now that President Hosni Mubarak is gone, the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest opposition group, says it will register as a legitimate political party once party restrictions are lifted. The group was banned under Mr. Mubarak's rule.

The Muslim Brotherhood said Tuesday that it will form a political party to assert its role in Egypt's nascent democracy. But it said it would not field a candidate in the next presidential election.

The Brotherhood has a representative on an eight-member panel of experts tasked with drawing up amendments to Egypt's constitution. The military chose a diverse group of legal experts, including a prominent Christian judge. Their amendments are due in 10 days, and the public will get to vote on them in two months.

Former protester Khalid Shahwan says he's impressed with the military's moves toward reform, and says that even though change won't be immediate, he thinks it will come quickly,

"Things are going to change on paper," said Shahwan. "The constitution is not going to change from tomorrow, and everything's not going to change from tomorrow, but life is going to get back to normal in Egypt and in Cairo."

But protests, sit-ins and strikes have stalled efforts to get Egypt back to normal life, after Mr. Mubarak's ouster. The country's new military leaders issued a communiqué asking citizens to bear with them.

A spokesman said citizens and unions should do their best to create a climate that allows the military to run the country in difficult times, until power is handed to elected civilians.

Tuesday was a public holiday for the Prophet Muhammad's birthday. Families milled around Cairo's Tahrir Square waving Egyptian flags, but traffic was light and no labor strikes seen.

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