CAIRO - A liberal Egyptian party led by a Christian telecoms tycoon has positioned itself as the main challenger to Islamist parties in parliamentary elections in November, analysts said on Wednesday.

The Al Masreyeen Al Ahrar (Free Egyptians) party, founded after President Hosni Mubarak was toppled in a popular uprising in February, said it had reached a milestone figure of 100,000 members, making it the largest party after the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's best organized political force.

Many liberals have been concerned Islamists, including the Muslim Brotherhood, may try to turn Egypt into an Islamic state if they secure a majority in parliament, which will give them a free hand in drafting a new constitution.

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