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Egypt Declares Muslim Brotherhood Legal

Egyptian Muslim brotherhood Shura council members gather to be photographed outside the new Muslim brotherhood headquarters in Cairo, April 30, 2011

Egypt has declared the Muslim Brotherhood political movement legal, ending a ban on the group that had been in place for decades.

The organization is one of the country's best organized political groups. Egyptian state media announced the government's decision, which clears the way for the Muslim Brotherhood to field candidates in parliamentary elections set for September.

In May, the Brotherhood announced it had formed a new political entity called the Freedom and Justice Party. A spokesman said the party would contest about half of the parliamentary seats in the upcoming election.

The Muslim Brotherhood ran its candidates as independents in previous parliamentary elections. The group controlled about one-fifth of Egypt's lower house after 2005 elections but was virtually shut out of parliamentary elections last year.

Egyptian authorities, under former President Hosni Mubarak, arrested hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters ahead of that voting.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

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