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Libya election commission says Saif Gaddafi ineligible to run

Son of former ruler among 25 of the 98 registered presidential candidates disqualified from running in the December 24 election.

Libya’s election commission has said Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of former ruler Muammar Gaddafi, was ineligible to run in the country’s planned presidential election in December.

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

The military prosecutor in Tripoli had urged the commission to rule out Gaddafi after his conviction in absentia on war crimes charges in 2015 for his part in fighting the uprising that removed his late father in 2011.

Gaddafi at the time appeared via videolink from Zintan where he was being held by fighters who captured him as he tried to escape Libya after his father’s overthrow. He denied wrongdoing.

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

Disputes over the election rules, including the legal basis of the December 24 vote and who should be eligible to stand, threaten to derail an internationally backed peace process aimed at ending a decade of chaos.

Some of the other candidates initially approved by the commission had also been accused of possible violations by political rivals.

Interim Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah promised not to run for president as a condition of taking on his present role, and did not stand down from it three months before the vote as is required by a contested election law.

Another prominent candidate, eastern-based renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar, is said to have United States nationality, which could also rule him out. 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 has described as “flawed” the election rules issued in September by the parliamentary speaker Aguila Saleh, who is also a candidate.

United Nations Libya envoy Jan Kubis, who is stepping down from his post, told the UN Security Council on Wednesday that Libya’s judiciary would make the final decision on the rules and on whether candidates were eligible.

Kubis told the Security Council on Wednesday he would remain in the job until after the election next month.

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