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Egyptian Christians Excluded From Municipal Elections

ICC Note

The Egyptian ruling party failed to allow Coptic Christians, who are its active members, to run to office representing the party. This is another example of how Coptic Christians are discriminated against in the country.

By Youssef Sidhom

05/03/2008 Egypt (Watani)-I am still receiving complaints from Copts who failed to run in the municipal elections on the ruling National Democratic Party’s lists. I am keen to publish as many complaints as possible to prove that we are before a phenomenon rather than a few individual cases. Although many Copts in various governorates sought to play an active role in political life, their pursuit was met by indifference, even reluctance on the part of the NDP. The situation poses a serious question over Coptic allegiance to the NDP where it is obvious they will never be allowed any leading role.

Mansour Mahrous Aziz from the village of Nawawra in Assuit, Upper Egypt joined the NDP ten years ago. “I am an active member,” he wrote, “and played a significant role in campaigning for the party in parliamentary elections. I applied to represent my village in the recent municipal elections, the sole Copt among 24 applicants. Although I had the support of Copts and Muslims alike, the final list of NDP candidates did not include my name. How can one take seriously the rhetoric on Coptic representation? And where are the citizenship rights we were told would guarantee us representation better than any quota system?”

From Qena, Upper Egypt , Amir al-Sarraf sent the following message: ‘The divergence between the NDP’s announced policy and practices on the ground was very obvious in the recent municipal elections. Coptic representation was so weak on the party’s candidate lists; many lists included no Copts whatsover. When the elections were held on 8 April, Coptic turnout was extremely low due to severe disappointment”.

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