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Egypt: Court cannot rule against elderly presidential candidates

An Egyptian court yesterday ruled that it had no jurisdiction to rule in a lawsuit calling for banning the candidacy of anyone who is a 70 years old or older in the presidential elections next month.

Lawyer Mohamed Hamed Salem filed a lawsuit to the Cairo Court for Urgent Matters demanding that a minimum age of 40 years be set for all presidential candidates. He also demanded that the candidate must be physically and psychologically fit, local newspapers reported.

The lawsuit, which was rejected by the court, added that the age of retirement has been set at 60 years for all government employees, but 70 years for judges as their work includes less physical effort. Therefore, the president must be under 70 as he or she makes crucial decisions and pursues every small and large political, security, social, economic and popular issue in the country.

The plaintiff demanded that candidates running for the presidency should undergo medical examination and drug testing by the Ministry of Health.

Observers believe the lawsuit is meant to target former military chief of staff, Sami Anan, who was born on 2 February 1948, so as to prevent him from running in the presidential race.

Last month, 70-year-old Anan was awaiting the approval of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) so that he could run in the presidential race. The council responded in a statement that included accusations of fraud and incitement against the army and a decision to detain him for questioning. The council’s decision ended Anan’s ambition to run in the upcoming presidential elections scheduled for next March.

Article 141 of the Egypt’s constitution stipulates that “a presidential candidate must be Egyptian born to Egyptian parents and neither he, his parents nor his spouse may have held other citizenship. He must have civil and political rights, must have performed military service or have been exempt therefrom by law, and cannot be younger than 40 years on the day that candidacy registration is opened.”

Law No. 22 of 2014 on the regulation the presidential elections, added that the candidate shall be free from any physical or mental illness that may influence the performance of the duties and functions of the President of the Republic.

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