Egypt court rules Salafist eligible to stand in poll

Hazem Abu Ismail Hazem Abu Ismail supporters outside the court in Cairo: he advocates an ultra-conservative form of Islam

An Egyptian court has ruled that an ultra-conservative preacher is eligible to contest May's presidential election.

The country's electoral commission had said it had evidence that Hazem Abu Ismail's mother was a US citizen.

In Egypt candidates for the presidency, their parents and their wives cannot have citizenship of another country.

On Wednesday the Cairo Administrative Court decided that the authorities did not have documents proving that she was an American citizen.

Hazem Abu Ismail has a large following among Egypt's Salafist movement, and advocates a conservative form of Islam, similar to that followed in Saudi Arabia.

The court ordered the interior ministry to issue a certificate establishing that Abu Ismail's mother "has never held another nationality other than her Egyptian nationality", the official news agency Mena reported.

Thousands of people carrying Abu Ismail posters and waving Egyptian flags demonstrated outside the court, and greeted the decision with cheers and chants.

In the Dokki area of Cairo his supporters brought traffic to a halt and set off fireworks in celebration of the court's ruling.

Egypt's electoral commission will issue a list of approved candidates for the presidency on 26 April.

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