AFRICA/EGYPT - Egyptian NGOs: no to the "guaranteed electoral quotas" for the Copts

Monday, 23 September 2013

Cairo (Agenzia Fides) - The Egyptian Center for Developement Studies and Human Rights - NGO close to the Coptic Orthodox Church - has asked that the forthcoming elections are celebrated by putting aside the quota system of seats reserved for Christians. In a statement issued on Sunday, September 22, the organization reiterated its opposition to the mechanism in force even in the last election, which brought to power the Muslim Brotherhood Party and President Mohamed Morsi, now deposed.
According to the organization, the practice of reserving seats in Parliament to some social groups defined on the basis of religion contradicts the principle of equality among citizens that must be guaranteed by the new Constitution, on which 50 members of a Constitutional Commission has been working since last 8 September. According to the leaders of the Centre, the system of quotas also contradicts the hope of giving life in Egypt to the rule of law, free from sectarianism. In the pronouncement of the NGO the definition of the Copts as a minority is rejected: the Copts - recalls the declaration - are part of the fabric of the Nation.
Even the Bishop of Minya of the Catholic Copts Botros Fahim Awad Hanna reported to Fides Agency his opposition to the system of quotas, which in his opinion "favors the division of the Country on sectarian basis". According to Anba Botros, "Everything must be placed under a law that guarantees all citizens equal rights and aid to select competent people for political activity, regardless of their confession and religious practice". (GV) (Agenzia Fides 23/09/2013).