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Final results show Christians under-repr...

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Final results show Christians under-represented in new Egyptian Parliament

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Final results show Christians under-represented in new Egyptian Parliament

Country/Region: Middle East and North Africa, Egypt

Final results of the Egyptian parliamentary elections confirm a resounding victory for Islamist groups, while the country’s Christians are woefully under-represented, filling just seven of the 498 seats.

As expected from the first two of three rounds of voting, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) has emerged with the largest share of the vote, giving them 47 per cent of seats in the People’s Assembly.

protests-outside-Egyptian-parliament-4x3.jpg
The Egyptian parliament was the site of protests during the revolution
Jano Charbel / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The final results of the staggered elections were announced on Saturday (21 January) by the High Judicial Elections Committee. The hard line Salafist al-Nur party’s coalition came second, taking about 25 per cent of the seats. The liberal Wafd party came third, trailed by the Egyptian Bloc coalition. The latter includes the Free Egyptians, which is headed by Christian businessman Naguib Sawiris and is favoured by many of the country’s Christians.

Despite comprising around ten per cent of the population, Christians fill only 1.4 per cent of the seats in the new parliament. Christian candidates won just two seats in the elections; five Christian candidates were subsequently appointed to the parliament by the head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, who, acting in the place of the president, has the right to appoint ten MPs. Ousted President Hosni Mubarak traditionally used this allocation to boost the representation of Christians and women.

Christians’ concerns

Egyptian Christians are concerned about their future under the new parliament. A Christian activist group released a statement, addressed to the Islamist majority, on Sunday, the day before the parliament’s first scheduled meeting. The group expressed discontent with the election results and asked the Islamists if they will treat the country’s Christians as equals and how they intend to deal with Christian women who will not be covering their hair or faces.

The new parliament will have significant influence in shaping the country’s future, as it will choose the 100-member body that will draw up the new constitution.

Under a temporary power-sharing agreement, the FJP’s secretary general, Mohamed Saad Katatny, was expected to be installed as the parliament’s speaker with al-Nur and Wafd representatives serving as deputy speakers.

It remains to be seen whether or not the FJP and al-Nur will join forces in parliament, but the two groups have thus far expressed different priorities. The former has said that it will focus on economic and social issues, while the latter wants to pursue a more overtly Islamist agenda, focusing on issues such as women’s dress, alcohol consumption and the contents of popular culture.

Elections for the upper house, the Shura Council, will start on 29 January, with presidential elections scheduled for completion by the end of June.

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  • Praise God for the release of John Short, an Australian missionary who was detained in North Korea for distributing Christian leaflets. John, who is 75 and based in Hong Kong, was reported to security officials in Pyongyang after he was spotted leaving a Christian leaflet at a Buddhist temple, an act that is illegal in North Korea. Further Korean-language Christian pamphlets were subsequently found in his hotel room. John, who was released on 3 March after two weeks in custody, was required to sign a confession probably scripted by the authorities. Other foreign missionaries arrested in North Korea have been given long prison sentences. Give thanks to God that John has escaped further punishment, and pray for him as he recovers from his traumatic ordeal. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 4 hours ago

  • Pray for Barnabas Fund partners in South Sudan who have been supporting Christians forced from their homes by violence. Conflict between supporters of President Salva Kiir and his sacked deputy Riek Machar in December and January displaced around 860,000 people. Churches were burned down and a number of pastors killed, while many people lost their belongings and were left destitute. Give thanks that churches in and around the capital, Juba, were able to provide food and other essentials to many families with help from Barnabas. Pray that they may continue to be salt and light in their country at this unstable time (Matthew 5:13-16), and that it will soon be safe for displaced Christians to return home. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Pray for the residents of a mainly Christian village in Borno state, Northern Nigeria, in the aftermath of a horrific attack by Boko Haram militants on 15 February. Ask for God’s comfort for the relatives and friends of the 106 people in Izghe who were gunned down and slaughtered in their houses or in the open as they tried to flee. Pray for strength for the numerous residents who were wounded or whose properties were looted and torched. Pray too for the many Christians who fled into the neighbouring state after the attack, and ask that the Christian community in the North of Nigeria will be preserved in the face of Islamist violence. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Violent attacks by militants from the Islamist group Boko Haram continue unabated in Northern Nigeria. On one horrendous day of violence on 26 January, at least 138 people were killed. A church in Wada Chakawa village in Adamawa state was targeted; the attackers locked the congregation inside and then detonated bombs, shooting and cutting the throats of people who tried to escape. They then went on a four-hour rampage in the village. Later the same day, Kawuri village in neighbouring Borno state was burned to the ground. Boko Haram is fighting to establish an Islamic state, and Christians are among its main targets. Pray that the Nigerian authorities will succeed in containing its insurgency. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Apr 2014 00:00

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