Aswat Masriya (Cairo)

Egypt: Copts in Shura - Controversial Constitution Articles, Elections Law Top Priority

A number of Copts President Mohamed Mursi appointed on Saturday in the Shura Council have confirmed that the new parliamentary elections law is their top priority.

The coptic MPs were appointed by a presidential decree alongside 78 others.

We will aim at communicating with different political powers inside the council to eliminate the political tension in Egypt, they added.

The Supreme Constitutional Court last June ruled that parliamentary elections law is unconstitutional which requires passing a new law.

"My appointment in the Shura Council was based on the nomination of the Orthodox Church," Suzan Adli Nashed, professor of law at Alexandria University and appointed Shura member, told Aswat Masriya, adding that she was one of the church's four nominees.

Passing the constitution in this faulty form requires that we aim for a consensus on controversial articles, yet this cannot be discussed until the People's Assembly is elected since constitutional amendments require a two-thirds majority for approval, Nashed said.

Two-thirds of the Shura Council's 270 members were elected early 2012. The remaining 90 were not appointed by President Mohamed Mursi who was elected last June until now.

Nabil Azmi, an appointed Shura member, said he accepted his appointment to achieve several goals. Chief among these goals is starting a dialogue with all political powers.

"The Shura Council comprises different political spectra. A channel for dialogue can be opened directly with them," Azmi stated.

As per the new constitution which is expected to be approved, the Shura Council will take over the legislative powers Mursi currently has until a new People's Assembly is elected.

Kamal Suleiman, general coordinator of the Coptic Advisory Council, said he could not possibly reject his appointment by Mursi and it has to be accepted in light of Egypt's circumstances.

Suleiman stated that his appointment does not mean giving up his principles which he has put forward as an oppositionist Coptic activist.

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