Church not directing Copts to vote for certain candidates, says bishop

Emad Khalil

The Coptic Orthodox Church said Saturday it is not specifying a list of candidates for Coptic adherents to vote for in the upcoming parliamentary elections and is merely calling on Copts to vote.

Recent rumors that the church is directing Copts to vote for certain candidates are not true, Bishop Morkos, a member of the church’s Holy Synod, told Al-Masry Al-Youm, adding that during his weekly sermon Pope Shenouda III stressed only the necessity that Copts vote. The pope told Copts to choose a suitable candidate, whether Muslim or Christian.

Emad Gad, a candidate on the Egyptian Bloc list, said such rumors were just “electoral maneuvers,” noting that the church’s role is limited to call on Christians to participate in the elections and “to abandon their passivity.”

Gad added that the Coptic Church does not engage in politics and does not direct voters. He praised its role in recent days in raising the awareness of Copts and encouraging them to vote.

Some candidates had claimed in press statements that churches are distributing lists of candidates and calling on Christians to select certain candidates.