Khalid Zafarani on Tuesday said he had sought authorisation with the government's political parties commission to create a Reform, Development and Justice party.

  

"We believe that Islam is our national and cultural reference, but we respect all revealed religions and the values of Christianity on the basis of citizenship and national co-existence, without discrimination," he said.

  

Zafarani said his party would "support civil liberties and the right for every citizen, regardless of his religion, to run for elections."

 

Presidential elections

  

Egypt is set to hold presidential elections in September and legislative polls next November.

  

Egyptian President Husni Mubarak, who recently asked parliament to amend the constitution to allow for multi-candidate presidential polls, has consistently voiced his refusal to let Islamists create a party.

  

The Muslim Brotherhood, which was banned in 1954 over its violent anti-government activities, has a dozen MPs elected under the label "independent".