One of many opposition factions at the forefront of the Egyptian revolution over the past three weeks, the Muslim Brotherhood has found itself a source of major controversy in the West, mostly owing to US refusals to recognize them and comments from US officials suggesting the group was a grave threat to national security.
But after years as a secret society persecuted by Mubarak, the outlawed organization is looking for formally apply for status as a political party in Egypt, seeing its future as part of the political process that (presumably) will emerge in Egypt in the next few months.
At the moment that is impossible, of course. The Egyptian Constitution explicitly bans the group from being legally recognized as a political party, as indeed it bans most of the groups that weren’t Mubarak’s ruling party. With the constitution now suspended entirely, it isn’t even clear how a group could be recognized as a political party.
And though the military is promising constitutional reforms that would enable “free elections,” it might not be guaranteed that it will be universally free, particularly with the US loudly objecting to the organization. Though the public is expected to have a referendum on the constitution it remains to be seen who will be doing the actual revising, and what choices the public will have in such a referendum other than “yes” or “continue martial law.”