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Banned opposition group to take part in Egypt's elections

By the CNN Wire Staff
Muhamed Badia, 66 was elected in January to lead the Muslim Brotherhood.
Muhamed Badia, 66 was elected in January to lead the Muslim Brotherhood.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Muslim Brotherhood decries "corruption and disruption" in Egypt's government
  • Organization's website says authorities arrested 5,032 members last year
  • The Egyptian constitution deems religious-based political groups illegal
  • Parliamentary elections are planned for November

(CNN) -- Egypt's largest opposition movement announced Saturday that it will participate in the country's parliamentary elections next month, according to a statement on the group's website.

"We are in a state of corruption and disruption that hasn't been seen before in the history of Egypt, therefore, the Muslim Brotherhood has to declare its position concerning the next parliamentary elections," Muhamed Badia, the leader of the banned Muslim Brotherhood, said in announcing the move, the group's website reported.

Badia said that 89 percent of the group's council agreed to participate in the elections.

The Muslim Brotherhood is banned because the Egyptian constitution deems religious-based political organizations illegal. The government allows it to operate but often cracks down on the group.

The organization's website says authorities arrested 5,032 members last year; most were later released.

In 2005, 88 candidates affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood won seats in the People's Assembly in what was seen as a stunning victory for the group, giving it 20 percent of the seats in the largely powerless body.

Parliamentary elections are planned for November, and analysts believe the government is eager to weaken the group before campaigning begins.

Badia, a 66-year-old veterinarian, was elected in January as the group's new "General Guide," or leader. Badia is considered a conservative, who is hesitant to confront the regime of 81-year old President Hosni Mubarak.

In his statement Saturday, Badia sent a message to the Egyptian government asking for it "to take more responsibility in managing the elections process, and favor the homeland's higher interest over the regime's narrow interest," according to the group's website.

CNN's Yousuf Basil contributed to this report.

 
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