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Gaddafi’s son disqualified as presidential candidate in Libya election

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi was ruled ineligible amid disputes. (Source: AFP)

TRIPOLI: Libya’s election commission has asserted that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of dictator Muammar Gaddafi and a strong candidate in December’s planned presidential election, was ineligible to run.

According to a list of barred candidates issued by the country’s High National Elections Committee, Seif al-Islam Gaddafi is ineligible because of previous convictions against him. He can appeal the committee’s decision in court within the coming days.

Seif al-Islam was sentenced to death by a Tripoli court in 2015 for use of violence against protesters who were calling for his father to step down, but that ruling has since been called into question by Libya’s rival authorities.

He is also wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity related to the 2011 uprising against his father.

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

The son of Libya’s former dictator submitted his candidacy papers in the southern town of Sabha, 650 kilometres (400 miles) south of the capital of Tripoli on Nov 14. It was the first time the 49-year old, who earned a PhD at the London School of Economics, had appeared in public in years.

He was captured by fighters in the town of Zintan late in 2011, the year when the popular uprising, backed by Nato, toppled his father after more than 40 years in power. Muammar Gaddafi was killed that same year in October amid the ensuing fighting that would turn into a civil war. The dictator’s son was released in June 2017.

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

UN Libya envoy Ján Kubiš, 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.

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