A major Egyptian ultraconservative Salafi group says they will back a moderate Islamist candidate for president, in a setback for the country's powerful Muslim Brotherhood.

The leader of the Al-Nour party, Emad Abdel-Ghafour, said Saturday that the decision to back Abdel-Moneim Abolfotoh was designed to allay fears among Egyptians over the growing prowess of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Abolfotoh is a moderate Islamist who is also popular among some liberals.

Islamist groups emerged as powerful players following the ouster of longtime Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak last year.

The Muslim Brotherhood and the Al-Nour party garnered 70 percent of the seats in the parliamentary elections. But many Egyptians worry that the Brotherhood is overreaching.