Muslim Brotherhood to fight in Egypt polls

Its candidates will run as independents because group is officially banned.

Cairo: Egypt`s largest opposition group Muslim Brotherhood said it will contest the upcoming Parliamentary Elections, ignoring calls for a boycott.

The decision was taken by the leader of the party`s parliamentary bloc Saad el-Katatni, who stressed the group will field candidates in the November elections.

Its candidates will run as independents because the Muslim Brotherhood is officially banned.

Brotherhood`s decision comes nearly a month after former IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei called on parties to skip the polls.

The decision highlights the fractured state of the nation`s opposition. Egypt`s three main political parties - the liberal Al-Wafd, the pan-Arab Nasserist and the leftist opposition Tagammu - will also contest the elections.

This leaves ElBaradei and two small parties alone in their boycott.

ElBaradei, who has emerged as a popular opposition figure since returning home this year, made his boycott appeal recently, saying the elections are sure to be rigged, but would run for Presidency in 2011, if the "measures to ensure transparency are enforced".

Earlier, many groups expressed readiness to join ElBaradei to form the National Association for Change, but a rift in opposition appeared when many parties declined to back him as their sole nominee for the presidential post.

Brotherhood`s choice to field candidates in the November polls was expected as the organisation views elections as the best chance to demonstrate its strength and to pressurise the regime of President Hosni Mubarak, who has ruled for nearly 30 years.

Mubarak`s National Democratic Party is expected to dominate the coming 518-seat Parliamentary Elections. Brotherhood has 88 seats in the current 454-seat Parliament.