AFRICA/EGYPT - Parliamentary election: Coptic Bishops declare “equidistance” and want high voter turnout

Friday, 23 October 2020

Cairo (Agenzia Fides) - A few hours before the start the Egyptian parliamentary elections, which are scheduled for Saturday, October 24th and Sunday, October 25th, various Coptic Orthodox Bishops affirm the “equidistance” of the Coptic Church towards the candidates and parties demanded by all citizens to demonstrate their civic spirit and solidarity with their home country by exercising their right to vote.
Anba Makarios, Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox diocese of Minya, recalled that participation in the elections expresses a sense of belonging and at the same time represents a "civil duty" and a "divine right".
Anba Stephanos, Coptic Orthodox Bishop of Beba, reiterated in his pre-election message that the Church does not express any preferences for candidates or parties, in the hope that turnout will be high and that long rows of voters in front of the polling stations can offer the international community a concrete image of the strength and cohesion of the Egyptian nation.
In recent weeks, the candidacy of Coptic Orthodox priest Paula Fouad in the parliamentary elections had sparked a controversial debate (see Fides, 1/10/2020).
In the past, several priests and bishops had actively participated in politics in Egypt, since in the Coptic Orthodox Church only monks are obliged to avoid direct and personal political involvement.
The election of the representatives of the people in the different regions of the country takes place in different phases and ends on November 8th. In the previous general election in 2015, CoptsToday reported that 36 of the 568 available seats were allocated to Orthodox Coptic candidates. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 23/10/2020)