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Electoral System Fragments Coptic Vote, Say Experts

October 19, 2015
A man shows his finger after casting a vote at a polling station during a parliamentary election in Cairo November 28, 2011. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh (EGYPT – Tags: ELECTIONS POLITICS)

By Aswat Masriya When campaigning kicked off for the upcoming election of Egypt’s 2015 House of Representatives late September, several unlikely bedfellows emerged amid the complex web of alliances and coalitions. Some dozen Coptic Christian names appeared on the Salafi Al-Nour Party lists, raising accusations of political opportunism and sharp criticism from senior members of Egypt’s Coptic Church who said that those Copts have “lost their credibility in front of both Christians and Muslims.” Indeed many Copts believe that these candidates have both betrayed their faith and their community by allying with a political party which repeatedly expressed discriminatory views vis-a-vis Christians. Experts, however, believe that the real culprit is the electoral system itself, which, they say, is the reason behind the expected fragmentation of the Coptic vote and why the ultra-conservative Al-Nour party have incorporated their religious “others” into their lists. The elections law stipulates a 20 percent quota for Coptic Christians on party or coalition lists contesting the election. Lists of 15 candidates must include at least three Copts, while lists of 45 should have at least nine, to fill the total 120 seats allocated to the list system. Emad…

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