Libya: Election panel rejects Gaddafi’s son as presidential candidate



On Wednesday, Libya’s election commission said that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of the former ruler and a primary candidate in December’s planned presidential election, was ineligible to run, compounding the turmoil surrounding the vote.

He was among the 25 candidates the commission disqualified in an initial decision pending an appeals process that the judiciary will ultimately decide.


As it stands, disputes over the election rules, including the legal basis of the vote and who should be eligible, is threatening to derail an internationally-backed peace process geared toward ending a decade of violence and chaos.

According to the commission, Gaddafi was ineligible due to his conviction on war crimes. 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 that trial by videolink from the town of Zintan, where he was captured as he tried to escape Libya after his father’s death. The other candidates who were rejected include former premier Ali Zeidan and former parliament member Nouri Abusahmain.


On his part, Interim prime minister Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah vowed not to run for president as a condition of taking on his current role and did not stand down from it three months before the vote as is required by contested election law.

Another prominent candidate, eastern commander Khalifa Haftar, is said to carry a U.S. nationality, which could also bar him. Moreover, several persons also accused him of war crimes committed during his 2019-20 assault on Tripoli.


Haftar, however, has denied war crimes and says he is not a U.S. citizen. Dbeibah has described the election rules as “flawed.”They were issued in September by the parliament speaker Aguila Saleh, another candidate.


U.N. Libya envoy Jan Kubis, who is stepping down from his post, told the U.N. Security Council that Libya’s judiciary has the final say on the rules and on whether candidates are eligible or not.

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