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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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    • Give thanks that as believers in some areas of Egypt continue to be at risk of violence from Islamists, Barnabas Fund is able to provide various kinds of practical help for needy Christians there, especially those most affected by the political turmoil. We are supporting Christian families in Upper Egypt with housing costs, medicines, food and schooling for their children, and 30 Christian students who were on the verge of dropping out of education because of lack of money have received funding to complete their education. Pray for all those receiving this help, that they will also be encouraged spiritually. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 13 hours ago

    • Give thanks that the authorities in Egypt are pursuing justice for the Christian community following widespread violence against them by supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood last summer. Christians were scapegoated by the Islamists for the downfall of President Mohammed Morsi. On 14 August, mobs torched scores of churches, Christian institutions and private property in what was described as the worst single day of violence against the Egyptian Church since the 14th century. Over 100 Muslims have been charged in connection with the attacks; at the time of writing they were due to stand trial for rioting, attacking citizens and targeting the churches and homes of Christians. Pray that justice will be done and restitution made to churches and individuals who suffered material losses. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Jul 2014 00:00

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