Coptic Catholic leader warns against worrying too much about Islamists' election victory
For Kamal Zachar, a Coptic Catholic political leader, Egyptians are a people of moderates opposed to undue power in the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists, who won the recent electoral round with 65 per cent of the vote. In order to understand the country’s political future, we must wait for presidential elections. A spokesman of the Catholic Church warns Christians against fear, urges them to get involved in politics.
Cairo (AsiaNews) – “Egyptians are not a people of extremists; they are moderate and against radical movements. The military council and parliament will not have the power to interfere in the new constitution, which will be drafted with the contribution of all political parties, and this despite the large number of votes that went to the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists in this first round of elections,” said Kamal Zachar, a Coptic Catholic political leader. Speaking to AsiaNews, warned against worrying too much over the overwhelming vote for Islamist parties, which won 65 per cent of the vote, especially in the poorest neighbourhoods.

“Egypt’s political system is presidential and this is a counterbalance to parliament if it is dominated by radical parties,” he said. “We must wait the next rounds of elections in December and January and presidential elections in July to have final results,” he noted. “However, the 28 November election will help plan future strategies.”

The first round in Egypt’s election on 28 November saw the Muslim Brotherhood win 40 per cent of the vote, followed by the Salafist with 21 per cent. Liberal parties created in the wake of Tahrir Square demonstrations won about 25 per cent of the vote. Various seats have gone to a second round in Cairo and Alexandria.

Mohamed El-Baradei, Nobel prize laureate and presidential candidate for a liberal party, said he was concerned about the country’s drifting towards extremism and the defeat of pro-democracy parties, which were too disorganised to run against the Muslim Brotherhood.

“I worry of course about some of the extreme stuff coming out from some of the Salafis,” he said. “When you hear that literature of somebody like Mahfouz is equal to prostitution” or “if we are still discussing whether democracy is against Sharia," there are good reasons to worry. “In my view, it is all in the hands of SCAF (Supreme Council of the Armed Forces) right now," he added.

For Fr Rafik Greiche, spokesman for the Egyptian Catholic Church, pro-democracy groups despite the defeat can still reach 30 per cent in the next election rounds. “New parties were created only a few months ago and it was impossible to think that they could compete on equal terms with the Islamist parties.”

“Salafists worry the Muslim Brotherhood,” he said. “In the future, it is not impossible to exclude an alliance between pro-democracy parties and the Justice and Freedom Party (Muslim Brotherhood) to stop illiberal laws that threaten the Christian minority.”

At the same time, the election results should spur Christians to get more involved in politics and society, the clergyman said, and not towards isolation as Muslim radicals hope for. (S.C.)
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