Egyptian Constitutional Reform: Presidential Eligibility Clause Only a Birther Could Love
This from Gianluca Parolin in EUI’s excellent EU Democracy Observatory on Citizenship on proposed changes to Egypt’s constitution regarding presidential eligibility:
The current text (albeit suspended) requires the candidate to be an Egyptian citizen born of Egyptian parents. The proposed text further requires the candidate and his (sic!) parents never to have acquired a foreign citizenship (thereby excluding also those who have renounced a previously acquired foreign citizenship), and not to be married to an non-Egyptian (woman — feminine in the text!).
I guess Obama is ineligible to succeed Mubarak.
In addition to being a little silly, entrenching this kind of requirement as a constitutional matter just raises the stakes for inevitable future disputes. Several countries are grappling with dual nationality barriers to elective office that they probably wish they’d never adopted (Jamaica, Australia, and Ghana, among others). Voters should be able to make up their own minds about whether an additional citizenship poses a real problem of loyalty. Conflict of interest is a better way of thinking about the problem, such as one exists.