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Friday, December 3, 2021

Libya: Gaddafi’s son is denied the right to run for president

BENGASI, Libya – Libya’s supreme electoral body on Wednesday disqualified the son and former heir of the late dictator Muammar Gaddafi from running in next month’s presidential elections, citing his previous convictions.

Seif al-Islam Gaddafi’s name appears on the list of unacceptable candidates issued by the country’s Supreme National Electoral Committee. He can appeal the decision in court in the coming days.

Seif al-Islam was sentenced to death by a Tripoli court in 2015 for using violence against protesters during an uprising against his father in 2011, but the decision has since been questioned by rival Libyan authorities. He is also wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of uprising crimes against humanity.

Libya is due to hold its first round of presidential elections on December 24 after years of UN-led attempts to enter a more democratic future and end the country’s civil war. In addition to electoral concerns, the UN’s chief envoy to Libya resigned last week, although on Wednesday he said he was willing to stay in the election if needed.

Since the ouster and assassination of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, oil-rich Libya has spent most of the past decade riven between rival governments – one based in the capital, Tripoli, and the other in the eastern part of the country. Mercenaries and foreign forces from Turkey, Russia, Syria and other regional powers also supported each side of the civil war.

The son of the former Libyan dictator filed documents for his candidacy in the southern city of Sabha on November 14. For the first time in many years, a 49-year-old man with a doctorate from the London School of Economics has appeared in public. …

He was captured by militants in the city of Zintan at the end of 2011, as an uprising ended his father’s rule 40 years later. Safe al-Islam was released in June 2017.

The announcement of his possible candidacy has sparked controversy in the divided country, where a number of other senior candidates have also emerged in recent weeks. Among them are the powerful warlord Khalifa Hifter and the acting Prime Minister of the country Abdul Hamid Dbeiba.

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The long-awaited vote continues to face challenges, including unresolved issues over electoral laws and recurrent strife among armed groups. Other obstacles include the deep divide that persists between the east and west of the country and the presence of thousands of foreign fighters and soldiers.

Meanwhile, UN envoy Jan Kubis submitted his resignation last week, although this became known only on Tuesday.

The diplomat from Geneva is both the special envoy to Libya and the head of the UN political mission in this country. On Wednesday, he told the Security Council that he was leaving to promote a change he sees as vital: transferring the post of chief of mission in Tripoli to work on the ground at a critical moment for Libya.

The idea was split in the council during discussions in September. Western countries have accepted this; Russia rejected this.

Kubis added that he is ready to continue working as special envoy until the elections, although he said the UN has accepted his resignation with an effective date of December 10.

When asked about the discrepancy, UN spokesman Farhan Haq said the organization “will continue to work with him while we look for a successor.”

The job was opened for almost a year before being replaced by Kubis, a former Slovak foreign minister and UN staff member in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Security Council highlighted the importance of Wednesday’s elections, calling for an “inclusive and consultative electoral process”, warning against violence and misinformation, and urging Libyans to accept the vote.

Libyan Ambassador Taher El Sonny said his country appreciates “all international initiatives with sincere intent,” but he said council members should “listen to us” and allow Libyans to find their own way out of the crisis.

“You are morally responsible for the events in my country over the past 10 years,” he told the group. “Don’t belittle us.”

Rami Musa

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World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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