Cairo: The presidential candidate of Egypt`s radical Islamists appears likely to be disqualified from the race over his mother`s American citizenship, giving a clear edge to the Muslim Brotherhood candidate who entered the race late.
The election authority said today that Salafist candidate Sheikh Hazem Abu Ismail could be barred from pursuing his bid for Egypt`s presidency as his mother held a US passport, giving the country`s closely watched presidential race an unexpected turn.
The development came less than a week after, Abu Ismail marched along with thousands of his supporters to the Presidential Elections Commission to file his nomination.
The potential exclusion of the 51-year-old preacher, highly popular among conservative Egyptians, from the race over his mother`s dual citizenship, may turn out to be a favourable development for the Brotherhood`s recently nominated candidate, Khairat al-Shater.
However, it could also provoke an uproar from thousands of his dedicated backers who had pinned their hopes on Abu Ismail to implement `God`s law`.
Abu Ismail`s candidacy application may be turned down as Egyptian law stipulates that a presidential candidate must be born to Egyptian parents who have never held a second nationality.
"He will not be disqualified. Otherwise we will take to the streets in millions," one of his supporters said as some of them planned a march of a million tomorrow to object to his expulsion.
The imminent exclusion of Abu Ismail is expected to enhance the chances of the 62-year-old Brotherhood leader, widely viewed as the group`s most influential member.
Shater has entered the race at the last minute and has very little time to catch up with other nominees` campaigns.