Islamic group seeks power in Egypt


A fundamental Islamic group is bidding for power in Egypt after protests led to the resignation of former president Hosni Mubarak (AP)

Egypt’s long-banned fundamental Islamic rivals to the deposed president have declared they will seek power as a political party in the wake of the country’s revolution.

The Muslim Brotherhood said it will form the party once democracy is established.

The new military rulers have asked a panel of experts to amend the constitution enough to allow democratic elections later this year.

The military is trying to push ahead quickly with a transition after Hosni Mubarak resigned in the face of unprecedented popular protests.

Generals from the Armed Forces Supreme Council, which now rules Egypt, said the military wants to hand power to a government and elected president within six months, the firmest timetable yet outlined.

The constitutional panel is to draw up changes at a breakneck pace – within 10 days – to end the monopoly that Mr Mubarak’s ruling party once held, which it ensured through widespread election rigging.

The military has long opposed the Brotherhood. But with the panel, it gave a strong sign it recognises that the group, which calls for an Islamic state in Egypt, can no longer be barred from politics.

A former Brotherhood MP was named to the eight-member panel, along with other experts of various ideologies, including a secular liberal scholar and three judges from the current Supreme Constitutional Court, one of them a Christian.

The initial changes proposed may not be enough for many in Egypt calling for the current constitution, now suspended by the military, to be thrown out completely and rewritten to ensure no one can once again establish autocratic rule.

The eight-member committee held its opening meeting with Defence Minister Hussein Tantawi.

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