The suggested quota for Coptic participation in the upcoming parliamentary elections triggered intense controversy during the Shura Council’s Legislative Committee meeting on Monday.
Coptic MPs on the committee requested that the draft parliamentary elections law stipulate a quota of 27 Coptic Christians, one for each governorate.
Several committee members objected to the request, claiming that it was unconstitutional, while others agreed that there needed to be a mechanism in place to ensure fair representation of Copts in Parliament.
“Don’t punish us for our faith,” said MP Mamdouh Ramzy, who added that President Mohamed Morsy was the first president to appoint 15 Copts to the Shura Council.
Shura Council member and constitutional expert Ramadan Bateekh supported the request, arguing that Copts are claiming their rights and that there would be a constitutional solution to the problem through the Supreme Constitutional Court.
Mohamed Mohie Eddin, MP for the Ghad al-Thawra Party, objected to the call for a quota. The solution to the representation of Copts should come through political parties and not through legislation, he said.
Salafi Nour Party MP Ali Abdel Tawab agreed, saying that establishing a quota for Copts amounted to sectarianism.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm