There are a lot of ways to be disqualified from running for president in Egypt

After Barack Obama released his long-form birth certificate last year, I wrote a short explainer piece looking at constitutions around the world and what they require in terms of presidential eligibility. The topic is back in the news this week after the popular Islamist candidate Hazem Salah Abu Ismail was disqualified from Egypt’s presidential election ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images
KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images
KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images

After Barack Obama released his long-form birth certificate last year, I wrote a short explainer piece looking at constitutions around the world and what they require in terms of presidential eligibility. The topic is back in the news this week after the popular Islamist candidate Hazem Salah Abu Ismail was disqualified from Egypt's presidential election after it was revealed that his mother was an American citizen. 

As it turns out, the provisional constitution that the SCAF government adopted in March 2011 is oddly specific when it comes to eligibility requirements, even banning foreign spouses:

(Article 26)
It is required for whoever is elected president of the republic to be an Egyptian who has never held another citizenship, born of two Egyptian parents who have never held another citizenship enjoying his political and civil rights, not married to a non-Egyptian, and not falling under the age of 40 years.  

After Barack Obama released his long-form birth certificate last year, I wrote a short explainer piece looking at constitutions around the world and what they require in terms of presidential eligibility. The topic is back in the news this week after the popular Islamist candidate Hazem Salah Abu Ismail was disqualified from Egypt’s presidential election after it was revealed that his mother was an American citizen. 

As it turns out, the provisional constitution that the SCAF government adopted in March 2011 is oddly specific when it comes to eligibility requirements, even banning foreign spouses:

(Article 26)
It is required for whoever is elected president of the republic to be an Egyptian who has never held another citizenship, born of two Egyptian parents who have never held another citizenship enjoying his political and civil rights, not married to a non-Egyptian, and not falling under the age of 40 years.  

A lot of this is new. Egypt’s previous constitution, adopted in 1971 by Anwar Sadat, makes no mentions of previous citizenships or spouses: 

Article 75

The person to be elected President of the Republic should be an Egyptian citizen born to Egyptian parents and should enjoy civil and political rights.

His age must not be less than 40 Gregorian years.

The SCAF constitution also added the requirement that candidates demonstrate the support of "at least 30,000 citizens, who have the right to vote, in at least 15 provinces whereby the number of supports in any of the provinces is at least 1,000." That requirement was the grounds for disqualifying the candidacy of former intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, who apparently fell 31 signatures short.

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

Tag: Egypt

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