Church representative resigns from Shura Council

The Shura Council member recently appointed to represent the Evangelical Church resigned Thursday, citing concerns the upper house of Parliament is dominated by Islamists.

Nadia Henry was one of the 90 members chosen by President Mohamed Morsy to serve on the 270-seat council, the rest of which is elected by the public.

Henry said that one-third of the president's recent appointments are Islamists, which does not ensure appropriate representation for the rest of society.

"I was honored to be among the 90 MPs appointed to the Shura Council by President Mohamed Morsy," Henry said in the resignation letter she submitted to Shura Council Speaker Ahmed Fahmy. "As I am willing to give effort, time and all that is precious to take the country out of its crisis, I accepted this great honor as soon as I heard that the 90 appointed members were originally meant to create the required balance between representatives of all Egyptian people in the respected council."

Henry offered her apologies, saying, "I cannot accept that title, [representative] of people, under the domination of 88 percent of the seats and votes of the respected Shura Council by a single faction, although it is supposed to represent all spectrums of the Egyptian society."

Andrea Zaki, deputy head of the Evangelical Church, said that the community would nominate a replacement for Henry to serve alongside its other representative, Freddie Bayaady.  The Church does not intend to withdraw from the council, Zaki said.

Henry did not attend the upper house session on Wednesday, the first time the council convened with its new members.

The council assumed legislative powers following the official approval of the new Constitution by public referendum. The opposition fears that the upper house, which will hold legislative authority until a new parliament is elected in early 2013, will issue laws curbing freedoms.

Propelled to power by the Muslim Brotherhood this year, Morsy says the Constitution and a subsequent vote to elect a permanent lower house will help stop political unrest and allow him to focus on restoring the economy.

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