Egypts Christians Vote in Historic Election
Electoral coordinators prepare to count ballots at a school used as a polling station in Cairo 24 May. Egyptian voters of many ages, occupations and beliefs stood in line for hours to cast their ballots for a new president. The winner would replace Hosn i Mubarak, deposed in an uprising last year. (photo: CNS/Asmaa Waguih, Reuters)
31 May 2012 by Michael Gunn
CAIRO (CNS) — Egyptian Christians voting in
their nations historic presidential election were throwing much of their support behind candidates who aimed to check the power of the Islamist parties.
Although no official statistics on the Christian
vote were reported, in the days before and during the
election, many of Egypts Christians said they would
support candidates who served under ousted President
Hosni Mubarak and said the ideals of the 2011 revolution
might have been too ambitious.
For me as a Christian I have only a few choices
– the other side is Islamic, I cant choose them, said a man identified only as Rami, 45, a worshipper at the Catholic basilica in Cairos Heliopolis district. Christians like Rami said they would support former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq or former Foreign Minister Amr Moussa, who also served as secretary-general of the Arab League for 10 years. On May 28, the
Egyptian election commission said Shafiq would face the
Muslim Brotherhoods Mohammed Mursi in a June 16-17
runoff for the nations first freely elected president.
In the days before the May 23-24 presidential
election, Rami told Catholic News Service, Even if
Shafiq and Moussa are from the old regime, they offer
security and freedom to live the way we want. Around our
communities these are the choices, although there are
some with the revolution who spent time on Tahrir Square
and will go with (Hamdeen) Sabahi, a former opposition leader.
Father Sherif Nashef, assistant pastor at the
Melkite Catholic Church of St. Cyril, also described a
community forced into pragmatism at the ballot box.
When people see a man like Shafiq in power they
will feel comfortable. They feel their country is in safe
hands, he said, summing up the grudging support for
figures associated with Mubaraks regime, which
suppressed political Islamism in an often-brutal manner.
Shafiq may be supported by the army if he is in
power; they will keep us safe, said a woman identified only as Ines, a 39-year old accountant attending the Maronite Catholic Church in Heliopolis.
Tags: Middle East Christians Middle East Egypt Arab Spring Coptic Christians