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Coptic pope calls for Egypt presidential elections first

Pope Tawadros II believes Egyptian authorities should hold presidential elections before parliamentary elections

Ahram Online, Thursday 26 Dec 2013
Pope Tawadros II
Pope Tawadros II, head of the Coptic Orthodox Church (Photo: Reuters)
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The leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church said on Thursday that he supports the holding of Egyptian presidential elections before parliamentary polls.

The decision about which poll to hold first was originally intended to be decided by the draft constitution, which was finalised in December and will go to national referendum in January.

However, at the last minute, the constitution-drafting committee decided to leave the timing of the upcoming elections up to transitional authorities, led by Interim President Adly Mansour.

Mansour must also define the details of the electoral system to be used in the parliamentary polls. Mansour has said his decisions on these issues will be made as part of a "national dialogue to serve the interests of the revolution."

During a national dialogue meeting with interim authorities on Monday, a majority of attendees voted in favour of holding presidential elections first. In addition, most attendees favoured a mixed system for parliamentary polls, over a party list system or an individual candidacy system.  

In an interview with Al-Ahram, published on Thursday, Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II declined to comment on the Egyptian government's declaration that the Muslim Brotherhood is a "terrorist group," saying that it was "a state matter."

He also encouraged all Egyptians to vote in the upcoming constitutional referendum, without specifying whether he supported a yes or no vote.

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