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Why is Libya's presidential race so overcrowded?

34 3 20
25.11.2021

It has been announced that 98 individuals, including two women, submitted their applications to contest Libya's 24 December presidential election. The list included a militia-linked suspect, Libya's top comedian, former and current parliamentary speakers and prime ministers, a former senior official from the Gaddafi era, a couple of businessmen and, of course, Gaddafi's son Saif Al-Islam.

However, the list was reduced by yesterday to 73 candidates; the others were disqualified for various reasons. The High National Election Commission (HNEC) explained why it decided to disqualify 25 applicants, including Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, a former prime minister and the former speaker of Libya's first elected parliament in the post-Gaddafi era. All disqualified applicants have 12 days in which to appeal.

The HNEC's reasons ranged from court convictions to having dual citizenship. Libya's citizenship law bans anyone with two passports from holding public office. Law number 1/2021 governing the presidential election, disqualifies any individual who has been convicted for any crime and received a final verdict.

Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, parliament speaker Aguila Saleh and current caretaker Prime Minister Abdel Hamid Dbeibeh are among the successful applicants. However, the HNEC said that more people could be disqualified before the final list of candidates is confirmed.

READ: Paris Conference on Libya: dodging the hard questions while ignoring the easy ones

Nevertheless, 73 potential presidential candidates for a country of less than seven million people and not even four million eligible voters is "astonishingly high," said Zubair Abdelgather, a retired law professor. "However, in the Libyan context it is........

© Middle East Monitor


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