Egypt Court Clears Way for Salafist in Presidential Race

Posted April 11th, 2012 at 7:25 pm (UTC-5)
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An Egyptian court ruled Wednesday that the mother of popular Salafi politician Hazem Abu Ismail is not an American citizen, clearing the way for him to rejoin the presidential race.

Earlier this month, Ismail's candidacy was in doubt after the presidential elections commission said it obtained documents showing that his mother was a U.S. citizen, effectively disqualifying him from running in the polls scheduled for May 23 and 24.

Under the country's electoral law, all candidates for the presidency, as well as their spouses and parents, may not have any other citizenship than Egyptian.

Outside the courtroom in central Cairo, thousands of Abu Ismail's supporters waved Egyptian flags and chanted “God is great.”

The presidential elections commission is currently examining documents of all applicants for the elections and will issue the final list of approved candidates before the end of the month.

Abu Ismail is a lawyer-turned-preacher with a large following of supporters, particularly from the country's ultraconservative Salafi movement. He advocates a strict interpretation of Sharia, or Islamic law, and used anti-U.S. rhetoric in his campaign speeches.

Among the other contenders are Khairat el-Shater of the Muslim Brotherhood, a dominant force in Egyptian politics that holds almost half the seats in parliament.

According to Egyptian clerics, el-Shater also supports the quick implementation of Sharia, if elected in May.