Egyptian authorities approve new party founded by Coptic activist

Egypt's Political Parties Affairs Committee on Monday officially recognized the Haya Party, a new political party founded by Coptic activist Mikel Mounir.

Mounir, who heads the US Copts Association, had opposed Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church when it rejected Copts' participation in the uprising that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak earlier this year.
Efforts to establish the new party kicked off in mid-August. Its founders submitted its application to the committee on 16 October.
A committee statement issued on Monday said the party can engage in political activities the day after it is approved.
Mounir said he rejects branding his party as "Christian," arguing that the description is used by "hardline groups" to weaken it.
He instead stressed that Haya is a liberal party that believes in human rights and liberties under a civilian state capable of protecting the rights of its citizens.
The party's founders believe that liberal democracy requires the predominance of equality, citizenship and the rule of law, he added.

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