Seeking to reassure its likely political opponents of common goals, Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood has joined with 17 other political parties in a common statement of goals for the country's September parliamentary elections.
The 18 parties released a statement outlining common principles that elected officials would be seeking to implement, including freedoms of expression, media, and worship, and a judiciary free from government pressure.
The Muslim Brotherhood, easily the country's most well organized political party despite its being officially outlawed for many years, has more members and more money than any other political party, and many observers inside and outside the country have worried that the Brotherhood will follow through in its pursuit of its stated goal of a government steeped in Islam. But leaders of the Brotherhood, which has reiterated that it will not run a candidate for president, say that they will abide by the outcome of the elections and will seek secular freedoms and respect the freedom to worship that so many other political parties espouse. That would be welcome news indeed for Egypt's Coptic Christians, who have been the target and/or instigators of many instances of sectarian violence in the past few months.
Former President Hosni Mubarak, who could face the death penalty if convicted of various charges including ordering attacks on unarmed civilians that killed more than 800, has stomach cancer, his lawyers say. Mubarak, 83, remains in a hospital near his home in the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh. He and his wife entered the hospital on April 13 with various ailments, including heart problems.