CAIRO: Head of the Free Socialist Constitutional Party Mamdouh Qennawi said that member Mamdouh Ramzy had not consulted him before announcing his intentions to become Egypt’s first Coptic candidate in the 2011 presidential race.
Qennawi told Al-Shorouk newspaper that it was the “personal initiative of Mamdouh and he did not consult me, but it is still too early to name a candidate from the party.
“I do not object to his intention to run for office because that is an ambition I cannot oppose, he added.
Ramzy confirmed his intent to run for Egypt’s highest office earlier this month, though he did not stipulate that he would run as the candidate for the Constitutional party.
However, even prominent members of the Coptic community held reservations over the timing of his announcement.
Editor of the Coptic Watani newspaper Yousef Sidhom told Daily News Egypt, “The party is supposed to announce its candidate, not the other way round. Ramzy’s announcement was premature because right now it is not a time to be contemplating this.
“Though I am not casting aspersions on Ramzy himself, but this seems to just be a media storm with little substance, he added.
Qennawi said his party was contemplating boycotting the elections altogether because it objected to the status of opposition parties as window dressing to decorate the transfer of power with the image of multi-party elections to cover “election fraud and a lack of transparency.
Member of the Kefaya Movement for Change George Ishaq told Daily News Egypt that while he supported a Coptic candidate for the presidency, the manner of Ramzy’s announcement led him to believe that it was not a substantive candidacy.
“To run for president Ramzy has to be nominated by a political party, and his party is saying that they have not yet picked a candidate and might not do so at all, he said, “This can’t just be for show. I’d love for there to be a Coptic candidate to cement national unity and the concept of citizenship but it has to be based on some foundation and a solid campaign.
Qennawi also said he had no reservations about Ramzy’s character or religion, but stated that the current political climate would not help any opposition candidates, but would rather guarantee power staying within the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP).
“The political landscape does not bode well and political life has become a still pond to maintain power whether for [President Hosni] Mubarak or his son [NDP Policies Secretary] Gamal, he said.
Gamal Mubarak is widely expected to be his father’s successor in the presidency, though there has been no formal announcement about this.
Coptic Christians are Egypt’s biggest minority, comprising some 10 percent of the population.