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Will the Muslim Brotherhood soon control Egypt's parliament?

The Muslim Brotherhood's new plans to contest 50 percent of Egypt's parliamentary seats in upcoming elections are sparking concern that it will impose its Islamist ideas on the population.

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Egyptian Secretary General of Muslim brotherhood Mahmoud Hussein (c.) reads a statement during a press conference in the Muslim brotherhood headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday. The once outlawed Muslim Brotherhood says it will contest half of the seats in Egypt's parliamentary elections in September, revealing plans to become a major force in the country's post-revolution politics.

Khalil Hamra/AP

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The Muslim Brotherhood’s new political party will field candidates in about half the parliamentary seats in Egypt’s first post-revolution elections, leaders announced Saturday.

After years of being banned from politics and persecuted by former President Hosni Mubarak, the official launch of the group’s Freedom and Justice Party was a historic moment.

Leaders portrayed the party as inclusive, saying Christians and women can join. In accordance with Egyptian law, the party is officially civil, not religious, and is independent from the group. Leaders also repeated an earlier pledge not to run a candidate in presidential elections.

But the plans to contest 50 percent of parliamentary seats will be worrying to the secular and liberal-leaning young activists who were a strong force in the revolution. They fear that the Brotherhood, Egypt’s best-organized group, will dominate the parliament and impose its Islamist ideas on the population. Leaders had earlier said the group would only contest about 30 percent of the seats.

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