CAIRO, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt announced Tuesday that it began the processes necessary to become a formal political party.
The Muslim Brotherhood was banned under the regime of Hosni Mubarak from competing openly as a political party. Its candidates won 20 percent of the seats in the Egyptian Parliament by running as independent candidates in 2005. Mubarak's ruling National Democracy Party last year, however, wiped the group off the political map in elections widely criticized by the international community.
Leaders of the group said that once it formed a legitimate committee, it would apply to become a formal political party in Egypt.
Ruling military authorities in Egypt dismantled much of the previous structure of the Mubarak regime, pledging to move forward with plans to hold national elections within six months.
Essam el-Erian, a spokesman for the group, said steady and gradual political reform must start sooner than later in Egypt as many anti-government protesters continue to express their frustrations in the streets.
"Although it fully understands that change does not happen overnight, the Muslim Brotherhood believes change will lead to a new beginning rooted in justice and progress," the group said in a state posted on its official Ikhwanweb site.
The group said recently, however, that it wouldn't field a candidate for the presidency.