Egypt: Coptic Pope will not back any presidential candidate

Sisi leads by landslide, Dostour with Sabbahi; pro-Morsi boycott

05 May, 17:26

    (ANSAmed) - CAIRO, MAY 5 - Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II said on Monday that he would not be taking the side of either presidential candidate in the upcoming Egyptian elections. The Coptic Church leader was one of the backers of the military ouster on July 3 last year of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi and supported the political 'road map' that was to have followed. In an interview with the El-Resala newspaper, the head of the Coptic church urged Egyptians, ''both Copts and Muslims, to read the electoral programs of both candidates'' - El-Sisi, who is leading in the polls, and leftist leader Hamdeen Sabbahi - ''well, and then make a choice as you see fit.'' His church's participation in the July 3 ouster was of a ''national'' and not political nature, said Tawadros, who sided with El-Sisi at that time, as did Al-Ahzar Grand Imam Ahmed El-Tayyeb. As part of a campaign entitled ''the people defend their candidate'', Morsi supporters under the umbrella group National Coalition to Support Legitimacy have called on Egyptians to boycott the ''comedy of presidential elections'', saying that ''the presidency is still occupied by Mohamed Morsi, who represents the solution to all problems''. The group demands that the elections be called off. Supporting Sabbahi are the Dostour ('Constitution') party founded by Nobel-winner Mohamed El-Baradei and the Adl ('Justice') party, which a number of those involved in the 2011 uprising are part of. Sisi, who a recent poll showed was expected to rake in approximately 72% of votes, is supported by the Arab Democratic Nasserist Party under Mohamed Hassan and the Sadat Democratic Party under Effat El-Sadat, and also by a part of the Tamarrod mouvement which played a leading role in the ousting of Morsi. On Sunday the Salafis of the Nour party - which was previously allied with Morsi but distanced themselves from the Muslim Brotherhood on July 3 - made their support for Sisi official. (ANSAmed).

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