Coptic Church to support independents in run-off elections

The Coptic Orthodox Church will support independent candidates in Alexandria against Islamist parties in the run-offs for the first phase of the parliamentary elections, according to Kamil Seddiq Sawiris, secretary of the church's Coptic Ecclesiastical Council.
The first phase began on 28 November and has seen the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party and the Salafi-led Nour Party winning the most seats. The runoffs will be held on Monday and Tuesday. "We will support independent candidates in the run-offs in Alexandria," Seddiq told Al-Masry Al-Youm on Sunday.
"The Church backs proponents of a civilian rather than a religious state." The Coptic Church has reiterated that it is not recommending specific candidates for Copts to vote for. Meanwhile, Nader Morkos, a member at the council, said that the number of Coptic voters in the run-offs, to be held in four constituencies, will not be lower than in the first round, especially since the Egyptian Bloc, an electoral list led by Coptic businessman Naguib Sawiris' Free Egyptians Party, has not been able win any seats contested through the single-winner candidacy system. Morkos told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the Church has been organizing awareness sessions in churches for the Coptic community, especially the youth, focussing on the importance of taking part in political life. “Copts will not fail to attend the second round of the polls, and will cast their ballots no matter what the results will be."
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