Liberal candidate for Canberra Mina Zaki has stridently denied she holds Afghan citizenship, but has refused to release correspondence she has received from the Afghan government since her declaration to the electoral commission.
An expert in diplomacy and Afghan politics believes she could be in trouble however, saying it is "absolutely clear" the document sent to the commission was not a finalised renunciation.
Ms Zaki moved to Australia from Afghanistan as a child, and both her parents and all her grandparents were born in Afghanistan. Like all candidates, she was required to declare this to the Australian Electoral Commission, as part of more stringent requirements introduced after many MPs were found to be ineligible to sit in parliament due to their dual citizenship.
In order for someone to renounce their Afghan citizenship, it must be approved by the country's president on the recommendation of a council of ministers.
While the documentation Ms Zaki submitted to the Electoral Commission doesn't confirm this has happened, the candidate told The Canberra Times on Sunday she was one hundred per cent sure the presidential approval had been gained.
"All I can say to you is that it has been finalised. I'm not a citizen of Afghanistan, I'm only a citizen of Australia and I've had independent legal advice both here and in Afghanistan to confirm that," Ms Zaki said.
Ms Zaki said she had received further correspondence from the Afghan government since the letter of April 16, but refused to detail what it said.
"I have taken every single step that they have told me I needed to take to renounce that citizenship. My citizenship of Afghanistan has been renounced and I have taken all the steps recommended."
Ms Zaki said she had begun the process to renounce her citizenship in November last year, before she was preselected by the party.
Professor William Maley from the Australian National University isn't convinced the translated document confirms Ms Zaki's citizenship of Afghanistan is actually renounced.
"It's a recommendation that the renunciation be approved. It is very clearly not a document that gives final effect to a request for renunciation because under Afghan citizenship law that requires a presidential order, which normally requires six months to be produced," Professor Maley said.
Professor Maley also pointed out an issue in the translation of the original document from the Afghan government. The English version says "the applicant's national identity is no longer valid" but Professor Maley said the full phrase was the national identity card.
The cancellation of a national identity card could be considered similar to the cancellation of an Australian passport, Professor Maley said.
"But the cancellation of a passport does not constitute the elimination of citizenship."
The seat of Canberra is largely considered a safe Labor seat, although Ms Zaki and the Greens have been attempting to take advantage of the seat's redistribution and lack of incumbent.