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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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    • Since General al-Sisi became President of Egypt in June, Christians in the country have felt the pressure upon them ease off somewhat. However, a convert from Islam, Bishoy Armia Boulous, previously known as Mohammed Hegazy, remains in prison. He was rearrested on 4 December 2013, charged with defaming Islam after he fi led a public lawsuit to change the religious affiliation listed on his national identification card from Muslim to Christian. Please pray that there will be genuine religious liberty for Christians from a Muslim background as well as those born into Christian families. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 24 hours ago

    • Lift up in prayer Christians living in Minya, Egypt whose homes were attacked on 5 August by local Muslims. The violence broke out after Muslims learned that believers in Yaacoub planned to build a new church. Opposition to construction of church buildings is one of the most common reasons behind anti-Christian attacks Scores of Egyptian churches were attacked following the removal of Mohammed Morsi by Muslims in Egypt. Restrictions on the building of churches, a cause of hardship for Christians for many years, were lifted in Egypt’s recent new constitution. Pray that the assailants will be brought to justice and that the plans for the local church building will continue. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Oct 2014 00:00

    • Give thanks that ten Egyptian churches destroyed in anti-Christian attacks last year have now been reopened. Around 60 churches across Egypt were attacked by Islamists in the summer of 2013. The assaults were provoked by the ouster of former president Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood. Although the current Egyptian government has promised to rebuild all the damaged churches, most of the Christians have not yet received aid and some are worshipping in ruined buildings. Pray that the rebuilding process will continue and that the Lord will protect His people in Egypt, especially while they are still meeting in damaged buildings. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Oct 2014 00:00

    • Dear Lord Jesus, we ask Your blessing on the thousands of Eritrean Christian refugees who have fled from escalating anti-Christian persecution in their home country, and are being detained in prisons in Egypt. Because they are Your followers, they face horrific treatment. We pray especially for women and men who have been raped in prison, and for those who have been kept chained for months, suffering hunger, torture and abuse. You said that You had been sent to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and to set the oppressed free. Please free these faithful ones, who suffer for Your Name (Luke 4:18, 21). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Oct 2014 00:00

    • “We had this feeling that jihadists wanted to wipe out any trace of Christianity in the north of Mali. But God in His goodness has not allowed such an eventuality,” said Dr Yattara, the president of the Baptist Church in northern Mali, to World Watch Monitor in September. He was describing how most of the Christians who had fled the region when Islamist radicals took control in 2012 have now returned to their homes after French troops ousted the Islamists. Many church buildings were desecrated, looted or severely damaged, but the Christians are determined to resume their ministries. Praise God for the continued Christian presence in northern Mali, for the courage of the Christians and for the religious liberty that they have under the law. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Oct 2014 00:00

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