They follow pledges from Morsi to reach out to Copts and women in forming a new government and presidential team, in order to reassure them it will not be dominated by Islamists. The new Cabinet sworn in Thursday had only two women, including the Coptic minister in charge of the scientific research portfolio.
Pachomius told Al-Shorouk the Cabinet was unfair because it underrepresented Christians. “It is unfair to Copts,” he said. “We had expected an increase of Copts’ representation in the new government, especially after increasing the number of portfolios to 35.”
In the outgoing government, Copts held two posts in a 30-member Cabinet. It was a rate that was kept in most previous governments, with Coptic ministers holding small portfolios or ones dealing with non-strategic issues.
But the archbishop said that with the increase in posts, the community had expected no less than four Coptic ministers in the new government.
Morsi’s new Cabinet has come under criticism from many, including women and youth groups, who felt underrepresented and see the new team as lacking a significant break with the past.
The ultraconservative Salafi groups, who backed Morsi’s bid for the presidency and who had won around 25 percent of the seats in the now-dissolved parliament, also complained they were not consulted and declined to take part in the government after they were offered only one ministerial post.
The concerns of the Coptic minority have grown with the rise of Islamists to power because they fear their rights may be curtailed and that they could become targets of extremist Muslim attacks.
Local groups as well as the United States had urged Morsi to send reassuring messages and form a broad coalition government.