Cairo (Agenzia Fides) - The Coptic Orthodox Church expresses its esteem and encouragement to all those who present themselves as candidates in the next parliamentary elections but, at the same time, maintains its equidistance and avoids supporting lists or candidates to the detriment of others, or participate in demonstrations and propaganda campaigns. This was reaffirmed by Anba Makarios, Coptic Orthodox Metropolitan Bishop of Minya and Abu Qurqas, in a statement published on the official website of the Diocese. Anba Makarios, a prominent figure of the Coptic Orthodox Episcopate, at the same time underlined that the Church invites all citizens to participate in the ballot, considering the exercise of the right to vote as a civic duty and a manifestation of concern for the fate of the national community.
The electoral operations to choose the members of the Egyptian House of Representatives will be held in different phases from October 21 to November 8. In the previous parliamentary elections in 2015, 36 seats out of 568 were assigned to Coptic Orthodox candidates.
In recent weeks, as Agenzia Fides reported (see Fides, 1/10/2020), the candidacy of Coptic Orthodox priest Paula Fouad in the next parliamentary elections reopens the debate on direct commitment of the clergy in politics. The priest, Parish Priest of Saint George in al Matarya Parish, is expected to stand as a candidate on the so-called “Coalition of Independents” list in the electoral district which also includes Cairo.
In the past, in Egypt, several priests and bishops were part of political formations, as in the Coptic Orthodox Church only monks are required to avoid direct personal involvement in politics. Therefore, in the absence of clear rules, the candidacy announced by priest Paula Fouad is the subject of controversy on the part of observers and commentators who hold different opinions about the appropriateness of his choice. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 10/10/2020)