Former Libya Ruler Gaddafi’s Son’s Presidential Candidature Rejected

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Saif al-Islam Gaddafi was sentenced to death in absentia in 2015 for war crimes. (To file)

Tripoli:

The Libyan electoral commission said on Wednesday that Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, the son of the former leader and major candidate in the presidential election slated for December, was ineligible, exacerbating the unrest surrounding the vote.

Gaddafi was one of 25 candidates disqualified by the commission in an initial decision pending an appeal process that will ultimately be decided by the judiciary. Some 98 Libyans have registered as candidates.

Disputes over electoral rules, including the legal basis for voting and who should be eligible, threaten to derail an internationally-backed peace process aimed at ending a decade of violent factional chaos.

The commission said Gaddafi was not eligible because he had been convicted of a crime. A Tripoli court sentenced him to death in absentia in 2015 for war crimes committed during the uprising against his late father Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

He appeared in this trial via video link from the town of Zintan, where he was being held by fighters who captured him as he tried to flee Libya after his father was toppled. He denied any wrongdoing.

Two other well-known candidates, former Prime Minister Ali Zeidan and former Parliament Nouri Abusahmain, were also excluded.

Some of the candidates approved by the committee, including likely favorites, have also been accused of possible violations by political rivals.

Acting Prime Minister Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah has vowed not to run for president as a condition for assuming his current role, and did not step down three months before the vote as required by a contested election law.

Another prominent candidate, the eastern commander Khalifa Haftar, is said to have American nationality, which could also exclude him. Many people in western Libya also accuse him of war crimes committed during his 2019-20 assault on Tripoli.

Haftar denies war crimes and says he is not a US citizen. Dbeibah described as “flawed” the electoral rules published in September by the president of parliament Aguila Saleh, who is also a candidate.

The UN envoy to Libya, Jan Kubis, who is resigning from his post, told the UN Security Council on Wednesday that the Libyan justice system would make the final decision on the rules and on the eligibility of the candidates.

(Except for the title, this story was not edited by DAILYNEWSCATCH staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)

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