By Heba Afify
CAIRO: The selection of seven Copts among the 10 newly appointed Members of Parliament was described by analysts as merely “decorative,” and not representative of Egypt’s Christian minority.
Political experts say that the appointments serve the benefits of the regime and exclude opposing voices.
President Hosni Mubarak announced on Saturday his picks for the 10 MPs that are appointed as per the constitution, which included seven Copts and one female.
Among the appointed is Mohamed El-Dakroury, vice president of the state council and advisor to multiple governmental bodies. He became known as the president’s lawyer after Mubarak chose him to file his presidential candidacy papers.
Emad Gad, political analyst at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, said that those appointed are all people that security approves of.
Gad added that since the appointed MPs are neither well-known nor active in the public arena — with the exception of Amina Shafiq — their new posts make them grateful to the regime and, in turn, keen on serving its interests in the People’s Assembly.
Shafik, a member of Al-Tagammu Party, was chosen as a way of compensating for her withdrawal from the elections after NDP-nominated Madiha Khattab, her colleague at the National Council for Women, won the seat, Gad said.
Appointed MPs from the outgoing parliament who spoke out against the regime were not selected, he added.
Georgette Qelieny, the former PA member who sharply criticized the government after the Nagaa Hamadi massacre, was excluded from the incoming parliament.
“The role [of the appointed members] is to serve the goals of the [National Democratic] Party and whoever fails to do so is excluded,” said Gad.
Peter El-Naggar, a lawyer, said that the addition of seven Copts to the parliament is only meant to enhance its image and that the members are appointed by the government and hence will serve the regime and not the people they represent.
“Appointing Christians to the parliament is a democratic decoration, exactly like putting a flower in a suit,” El-Naggar said.
El-Naggar added that many of the appointed Copts were in the parliament previously and did not serve the interests of the Christian community.
According to El-Naggar, their appointment does not make up for the lack of elected Christian members in the parliament who would better represent the will of the people.
The church is reportedly displeased with the choice of Gamal Asaad, who is known for his attacks against the church and the Pope; and many consider his appointment to be a form of penalizing the church for its frictions with the government.
“Gamal Asaad attacked the church before being appointed, so he will definitely not protect its interests in the parliament,” El-Naggar said.