Court Prohibits Dual Citizenship for Egyptian MPs
The Administrative Court and the Supreme Administrative Court in Egypt have recently handed down three verdicts prohibiting Egyptians who hold dual citizenship from being members of parliament, said Al Ahram Weekly.
According to the paper, The first, by the Administrative Court, applies to business magnate Rami Lakah, who holds a French passport in addition to his Egyptian nationality. The second and third, by the Supreme Administrative Court, went against Mohamed Ahmed Mohamed Saleh, who was said to have forfeited Egyptian citizenship after gaining German nationality, and Talaat Mutawi', who holds American and Egyptian passports.
The verdicts are final and cannot be contested, said the weekly.
The issue topped news shortly before the parliamentary elections in October. A candidate contested the credentials of his opponent and asked for his exclusion on the grounds that he had both Dutch and Egyptian nationalities. In response, the Supreme Administrative Court not only banned the candidate in question from running for election, but also ordered the removal of his name from the list of voters. Basing its decision on Article 90 of the Constitution, the court argued that "it cannot be imagined that the person who is required to look after the country's interest may share his loyalty to Egypt with another country."
The weekly expected that the three verdicts fuel the already existing hullabaloo. Several other prominent deputies also hold dual citizenship, including Economy Minister Youssef Boutros Ghali, Minister of Housing Mohamed Ibrahim Suleiman and businessman Mohamed Abul-Enein, who have American, Canadian and Italian passports, respectively.
In response, the Supreme Administrative Court not only banned the candidate in question from running for election, but also ordered the removal of his name from the list of voters.
In all three verdicts, the courts argued that since Egyptians who carry other nationalities are exempt from military service and prohibited from enrolling in military and police academies in order to safeguard the security of the armed forces, it went without saying that their nomination for parliament may not be accepted on the same grounds.
Law 26 of 1975 prohibits Egyptians from acquiring another nationality unless they surrender their Egyptian citizenship.
However, it makes an exception of Egyptians who emigrated to other countries and settled there. "But if the Egyptian who has dual citizenship returns to Egypt, settles down and works here, then the cause for acquiring a foreign nationality becomes invalid," the law says.
Although the verdicts are final, they may be shrugged off by the ruling National Democratic Party -dominated parliament, on the grounds that parliament is sovereign over its membership, said the paper.
The fact that the majority of the MPs who have dual citizenship are prominent and influential figures in the ruling party in Egypt makes it even more unlikely that the rulings will be heeded by parliament, commented al-Ahram weekly.
However, the People's Assembly may not refrain from implementing the rulings if it uses this argument, but this is an irregularity because the verdicts of the Supreme Administrative Court must be applied," Tarek El-Bishri, the court's former deputy chairman, told the weekly – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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