Labor candidate for Hughes quits race due to Greek citizenship concerns in Australia

Labor’s candidate for the federal seat of Hughes in Sydney, Australia, has withdrawn over section 44 citizenship troubles, leaving the ALP scrambling to find a replacement just days before the election is likely to be called.

Peter Tsambalas, a local teacher, was preselected unopposed by ALP branch members in January.

But he had not been officially endorsed as he was waiting for notification from Greek authorities that he had formally renounced his Greek citizenship. He began the process in December 2021.

Despite being born in Australia and having Australian citizenship, Tsambalas acquired dual citizenship via his migrant parents.

Such a situation triggers section 44 of the constitution which says a person is ineligible to run for federal parliament if they are "under any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power".

"My team and I put every effort into resolving the citizenship question but it is clear we will not get there in time," Mr Tsambalas told the Guardian on Thursday.

"I now look forward to giving whatever assistance I can to the successful Labor candidate in this important election."

Hughes is held by former Liberal Craig Kelly with a 9.3 per cent margin. Mr Kelly resigned from the Liberals over controversial views on Covid-19 and is now running for the United Australia Party.