Supporters of disqualified Salafist candidate Abu-Ismail begin Tahrir sit-in

Ahram Online, Saturday 21 Apr 2012

Following mass demonstrations on Friday, supporters of the disqualified Salafist presidential hopeful, Abu Ismail, start an open-ended Tahrir Square sit-in

A supporter of Salafi preacher and barred presidential candidate Hazem Salah Abu Ismail is seen in front of a tent that has his picture, at Tahrir Square in Cairo April 18, 2012. (Photo: Reuters /Asmaa Waguih)

Supporters of Salafist Sheikh Hazem Abu Ismail have declared an open ended sit-in in Tahrir Square to protest the decision of the Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission (SPEC) to disqualify him from seeking the presidential bid.

Abu Ismail and his supporters claimed that what disqualified him from the race - the SPEC conclusion that his mother was a US national - is false.

The sit-in carried several demands, according to the protesters. One demand is to cancel article 28 of the constitution, which leaves the SPEC decisions immune to appeal. They also demand that the military cease trying civilians in military courts, the application of the disenfranchisement law (which would bar former regime figures from political activities) and dismantling military-appointed government of Prime Minister Kamal El-Ganzouri.

The SPEC announced last week its final decision to disqualify ten candidates from the presidential race, including the Salafist Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail, Muslim Brotherhood Deputy Leader Khairat El-Shater and Mubarak's former intelligence chief Omar Suleiman.

Abu-Ismail was disqualified after supposed evidence surfaced that his mother held dual nationality, which, according to the constitutional declaration issued after the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak, prohibits him from running for president.

The rules state that Egypt's new president cannot hold any nationality other than Egyptian, cannot be married to a non-Egyptian and must from an Egyptian-born mother and father who have not obtained any other nationality throughout their lives.

Abu-Ismail supporters were angered by the decision to disqualify their candidate, gathering outside the SPEC building in Heliopolis, Cairo, in protest.

In an address before the decision was announced, Abu-Ismail accused the commission of lying, treason and attempting to divide the country.

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