- Middle East/North Africa
The Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party has said it will have more Copts running as candidates in the forthcoming parliamentary elections.
Nagy Mikhail, a member of the party's supreme authority, told Al-Masry Al-Youm it will have 30 church leaders running on its lists in the next elections, and added that serious negotiations are ongoing with Coptic Church leadership to increase the percentage of Copts inside Parliament to bolster national unity.
The party had two Copts running for seats in the last parliamentary election: Ameen Eskandar, the deputy founder of the Karama party who won a seat in Cairo, and Sameh Attia Selwanes.
The party on Friday appointed Naheed Lamie, a Coptic party member, as deputy to Helmy al-Gazzar, the party’s Giza secretary.
Mikhail told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the party is polling the opinions of governorate-level secretariat members to determine which members will run in the election.
The party's election committee has tasked the governorate secretariats with conducting referendums to choose members who will run in the elections, according to Mikhail, who added that the party has set clear criteria for the selection of members who will run in the election.
He also said the party is setting up lists that will have popular support and produce laws that serve the interests of the state.
The party's general conference has 11 Copts out of a total of 1025 members. Of its 8821 founding members, 93 are Copts, and Rafiq Habib, vice president of the party alongside Essam al-Erian, is also a Copt.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm