Egypt: Coptic community prepares for coming parliamentary elections

On Saturday 12th January, human rights activists and members of the Coptic community, invited by AlKalema Center for Human Rights in Egypt, held a conference in a Cairo hotel to discuss a collective action plan to ensure fair representation of the Coptic minority in the next Parliament.

The Conference schedule had indicated a discussion over possible strategies to be conducted over the coming parliamentary elections, regarding distribution of candidates by geographic area, as well as their placement in parties’ lists. Surveying about 50 people, the discussion revealed three divergent opinions on the matter.

On one hand, some suggested that minorities should run through opposition parties, in a free and fair competition to obtain seats in the Parliament. On the other hand, others proposed to discuss with political parties the placement of Coptic candidates among the first three names on the parties' list. It is noteworthy to mention that this last suggestion was also made in public dialogues and media to secure representation of women in the coming legislative body. Finally, a third opinion revived the question of quotas, to be applied for all minorities, whether ethnic or religious. Supporters of the third opinions held that the Constitutions of Iran, Syria and Palestine guaranteed a minimum representation of minorities in the legislative body. The suggested quota was 50 seats, spread over 28 governorates, which meant one to two seats per governorate. Voting on strategies imposed the second opinion, scheduling meetings with various political parties for next week.

On Tuesday the 15th of January, members of the Coptic community met again to listen to intended Coptic candidates about their views, opinions and suggested action plan on central issues.       

Photo: The Kasr el Dobara Church, situated just behind Tahrir square

Credit: Mark Lattimer/MRG

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Date: 15/01/2013





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