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ICC Note:

“A liberal Egyptian party led by a Christian telecoms tycoon has positioned itself as the main challenger to Islamist parties in parliamentary elections in November… Many liberals have been concerned Islamists, including the Muslim Brotherhood, may try to turn Egypt into an Islamic state if they secure a majority in parliament, which will give them a free hand in drafting a new constitution,” Reuters reports.

By Yasmine Saleh

8/25/2011 Egypt (Reuters) – A liberal Egyptian party led by a Christian telecoms tycoon has positioned itself as the main challenger to Islamist parties in parliamentary elections in November, analysts said on Wednesday.

The Al Masreyeen Al Ahrar (Free Egyptians) party, founded after President Hosni Mubarak was toppled in a popular uprising in February, said it had reached a milestone figure of 100,000 members, making it the largest party after the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s best organised political force.

Many liberals have been concerned Islamists, including the Muslim Brotherhood, may try to turn Egypt into an Islamic state if they secure a majority in parliament, which will give them a free hand in drafting a new constitution.

“This shows we now have a new strong liberal group which seeks democracy and modernity and which could stand up against Islamic forces, including the Muslim Brotherhood, in their attempts to turn Egypt into an Islamic state,” Nabil Abdel Fattah of the Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies told Reuters.

The Muslim Brotherhood has an estimated membership of between 500,000-700,000. Most other liberal parties are estimated to have a few thousand members each.

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