Coptic Christians Still Underrepresented in Parliament
06/20/2020 Egypt (International Christian Concern) – The Egyptian parliament has approved amendments changing election and representation requirements. Political messaging on these changes includes language that it would improve Christian representation in parliament. In reality, this messaging masks some of the areas where Christians experience discrimination and other types of persecution.
These changes increase the President’s influence over parliament through closed party lists, although individual lists do remain. These changes are purported to grant better representation by giving three seats in the closed group to Coptic Christians, nine seats in the individual elections to Coptic Christians, and similar numbers for other minorities. However, these numbers are arbitrary and do not grant proportional representation to Christians. There has not been a census documenting religious demographics since 1996, and there is an ongoing disagreement within Egypt about the official number of Christians.
Egypt views census information as a national security risk, which has kept information like religious demographics from being collected. Without these numbers, there is no way to accurately represent religious populations in parliament. Until Egypt collects actual data on the Christian presence in the country, Coptic Christians will not see accurate and proportional representation in their government.
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