CAIRO, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood says it will set up a political party once restrictions are lifted that prevented it and other groups from doing so under President Hosni Mubarak.
The Islamist group said in a statement it had declared its desire to a set up a party many years ago but was stopped by the political parties law, one of many curbs on political activity during Mubarak’s rule.
“When the popular demand for the freedom to form parties is realised, the group will found a political party,” said the statement, posted on the group’s website and dated Feb. 14.
The Brotherhood was founded in the 1920s and has deep roots in Egypt’s conservative Muslim society. Although Mubarak maintained a formal ban on the group, his administration tolerated it so long as it did not challenge his power.
The Brotherhood said on Saturday it would not seek the presidency or a parliamentary majority in elections which Egypt’s new military rulers have promised to hold.
The military council, which took over from Mubarak on Friday, has said it plans to transfer power to civilians and establish democratic rule. The council has said it will govern temporarily until elections are held.
The United States has expressed concern about what it has called the Brotherhood’s “anti-American rhetoric”, but stopped short of saying it would be against the group taking a role in a future government. (Reporting by Tom Perry; editing by Andrew Dobbie)