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EGYPT: Mixed reactions toward Coptic presidential candidate

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The chances of a Coptic Christian ruling Egypt are nearly impossible, but that hasn't stopped Mamdouh Ramzi, a lawyer with a shock of white hair, from announcing his candidacy in the 2011 presidential elections.

Ramzi declared earlier in the week that he will be the country's first Coptic candidate for president. While most Muslims, who represent 90% of the country's population, will not likely vote for a Christian candidate, Ramzi has the political and religious classes chattering.

The ruling National Democratic Party, which has been criticized by human rights groups for stifling political opposition, contends  that Ramzi's candidacy is a strong sign of how the NDP has promoted democracy and equality between Muslims and other religious minorities in Egypt. Ramzi belongs to the little-known Constitution Party, which -- unlike the Muslim Brotherhood, whose members are frequently imprisoned -- poses no threat to the NDP.

"Any Egyptian, whether Christian or Muslim, has the right to run in the presidential elections as long as he or she fulfills the constitutional terms," said Gehad Ouda, a member of the NDP's policies committee.

Pundits believe that Ramzi's decision to stand in the elections is no more than an attempt to promote his business as a lawyer. But the head of the NPD's youth committee, Mohamed Heiba, stressed that Egyptians have enough political awareness to choose the right candidate without falling to any person's hidden agenda.

The Rev. Refaat Fekri of the Evangelical church said Ramzi's candidacy is a major step toward introducing full and equal citizenship in Egypt, before admitting that it would be impossible to see a Christian rule Egypt. In 2005, Adli Abadir, an Egyptian Copt living in Switzerland, announced he would run in that year's presidential race. But he withdrew before the elections.

-- Amro Hassan in Cairo

Photo: Mamdouh Ramzi. Credit: Al Youm Al Sabee

Comments () | Archives (6)

Actually the fact is that the coptic population in egypt is more like 40-50%. The government/media wants to keep the public numbers of this info hidden for obvious reasons. This is one of those reasons.

Why do we have to vote for him simply because he's christian, what does he have to offer or add is the real question.
Now last election participation was around 3Mill voters out of 33 Mil. If Christians all believe that they can make a change and have a voting card then they will be able to make a difference, maybe not win but make a bold statement.

god bless,Ihope all goes well. I hope the countrys muslim agitators dont kill him first.

Not going to happen. He knows it, the government knows it, even the people that will vote for him know it. Ramzi is clearly just furthering his own agenda, while making the government look good because it's allowing opposition (even though it is feeble). I'd like to see the government grant the same privileges to a worthy opponent.... Egyptian elections are a sham!

It is interesting that the 10% minority Coptics own 60% of Egyptian economy, according to conservative estimates. When you rule the economical state of Egypt, you rule Egypt, so I'm not sure why they want the political realm as well. That just gives more attention to their dominance in Egypt for no reason, and will definitely cause civil problems in the future (if, which is impossible for many reasons, a Coptic becomes president.)

the elections are arranged anyways, it has been years and years the same president is elected if ever Moubarak steps down hi son will replace him , we all know that... Christian president ? it will never happen and we all know WHY !!!!


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