Egypt court approves moderate Islamic party after 15 years
A Cairo court on Saturday approved the establishment of the al-Wasat Al-Jadid political party, after its applications for official status were denied for 15 years, dpa reported.
The moderate Islamic party is the first to be given a licence to operate after an 18-day popular uprising forced president Hosny Mubarak to resign on February 11.
Founders of the party broke away from the Muslim Brotherhood in 1996. Al-Wasat seeks to interpret Islamic sharia principles while advocating a liberal democratic system.
Al-Wasat, which means moderate in Arabic, also supports pluralism and equal citizenship rights for all Egyptians, regardless of religion, sex, race or status.
However, the Political Parties Committee - a government committee that controls the registration of new parties - rejected al-Wasat, saying its agenda repeated that of existing opposition parties. Under Egyptian law, the programme of a new party has to be different from that of existing parties in order to be granted a licence to operate.
Shortly after the party's establishment, the government accused al-Wasat's leaders of setting up a front for the banned Muslim Brotherhood.
The Muslim Brotherhood, the country's largest opposition group, recently announced it would apply to become an official political party as soon as the constitution is amended.
A judicial committee was formed by the armed forces, which now runs the country, to look into constitutional amendments