Demonstrators protest at an anti-Mubarak demonstration at the Society of Lawyers in downtown Cairo on September 1, 2005. Under intense security measures and with hundreds of riot troops deployed, demonstrators from three opposition parties, including the banned Muslim Brotherhood, gathered outside the Union of Lawyers in downtown Cairo calling on the ouster of incumbent President Hosni Mubarak, the release of political prisoners and suspension of emergency (martial) law under which Egypt has been ruled for over two decades. (UPI Photo/Stewart Innes) | License Photo
CAIRO, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt announced Wednesday they wouldn't field a candidate for presidential elections later this year.
Muslim Brotherhood members running as independent candidates took 20 percent of the seats in the Egyptian Parliament in 2005. The opposition movement, however, was wiped off the political map in elections criticized by the international community last year.
With Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak reacting to ongoing political unrest by saying he wouldn't seek another term in office, the Muslim Brotherhood has regained political momentum.
The organization said in a statement on its official Ikhwanweb site that it wasn't looking for significant power in the post-Mubarak era.
Muslim Brotherhood leaders during a Wednesday news conference said they "are not seeking power nor do they have any intentions of fielding any of the group's members for presidency."
The group said it was in negotiations with Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman to examine the regime's "real intentions" to make sweeping political reforms.
Essam el-Erian, a spokesman for the opposition group, complained that the people's demands haven't changed despite movements by the regime in Cairo to embrace reform.
"Time has come for people's demands to be respected and they have once and for all abandoned both their fear and apathy and want to obtain what is rightfully theirs mainly a dignified life based on mutual respect, equality, democracy and freedom of speech," he said in a statement.
Western allies are wary of a political system in Egypt open to the Muslim Brotherhood, which embraces Islam as a reference point for social and political order.
Erian said, however, that those fears are "groundless," noting Islam is based on democratic values cherished by the Western world.
The group's affiliated candidates campaigned under the slogan Islam is the Solution in 2010.