Libya’s election commission has disqualified 25 of the 98 candidates running for president, including Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, son of the leader whose 2011 overthrow plunged the North African country into a decade-long civil war.
Gaddafi announced his candidacy in November 14. He looked as if he would be among the front-runners during the contest scheduled for December 24, 2012. The election commission declared him unfit to run on Wednesday. This is an interim decision that can be appealed to the court.
Tripoli’s military prosecutor had requested that the commission disqualify Gaddafi due to Gaddafi’s 2015 absentia conviction for war crime related to the uprising in 2011 which overthrew the father. Muammar Gadaffi was the ruler of Libya for 40+ years until he was overthrown by NATO-backed rebels.
Saif al-Islam was the chosen candidate of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Libya, a group of his father’s loyalists formally established in 2016. A pending arrest warrant for him is also awaiting his release by the International Criminal Court, ICC in The Hague.
Gaddafi reacted to the decision by pointing out that General Khalifa Haftar has two criminal convictions – a 1987 court-martial over his surrender to Chad, and a 1993 civilian conviction for plotting to overthrow the government – yet he has not been disqualified from running.
Critics also claimed that Haftar is a US citizen and ineligible. He commands the Tobruk-based military government which controls eastern Libya. Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh was the interim prime minster of the Tripoli based national unity government and had previously promised to not run for the presidency before taking over the position. However, he refused to resign from the post three months in advance as required under the controversial electoral rules.
On Wednesday, the UN Security Council issued a statement highlighting the significance of elections for peace and reconciliation in Libya. It also urged all parties concerned to respect the rights and freedoms of political rivals “before, during and after”Vote
The Geneva-based UN special envoy for Libya, Slovak diplomat Ján Kubiš, abruptly resigned on Tuesday for reasons not yet revealed, but will remain in the post until Secretary-General António Guterres appoints a replacement.
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