Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of longtime Libyan dictator Mummar Gaddafi, has been disqualified from presidential elections scheduled for December, a move that is expected to worsen voting unrest in Libya.
Gaddafi was among 25 candidates declared ineligible for the race by the Libyan electoral commission on Wednesday. The initial decision is pending an appeal process which will ultimately be decided by the judiciary. There were 98 Libyans who had registered to introduce themselves.
Disputes over electoral rules, including the legal basis for voting and who should be eligible, threaten to derail an internationally-backed peace process aimed at ending a decade of chaos and factional violence.
The commission said Gaddafi had been disqualified because he had been convicted of a crime. A Tripoli court sentenced him to death in absentia in 2015 for overseeing war crimes during the uprising against his late father in 2011.
The court upheld the final sentences after a videoconference trial, Gaddafi being held in the town of Zintan by militiamen who captured him as he tried to flee the country after his father fell. The 49-year-old has denied any wrongdoing.
“Saif’s candidacy has always been kind of a wild card, so it is hoped that his disqualification will help calm an indignant response that threatened to derail the process without disrupting the ongoing electoral process too much,” said Tarek Megerisi, senior researcher in politician and expert in Libya at the European Council on Foreign Relations.
Election rules, including the legal basis for voting and the eligibility of candidates, further fuel political feuds between Libyan rivals, as many suggest the whole process is unfair and favors some political factions over others .
“The whole verification process seems to have been very politicized – like many others in this election – so it’s no surprise,” Megerisi said. The independent.
Political rivals accused the commission of double standards by disqualifying high profile candidates, such as former Prime Minister Ali Zeidan and Speaker of Parliament Nouri Abusahmain for possible violations by other accepted candidates .
Zeidan, for example, was excluded because of his dual nationality. However, the commission accepted the candidacy of the eastern commander Khalifa Haftar, who would have American nationality. Many residents of western Libya also accuse Haftar of war crimes committed by his forces during the 2019-2020 war against Tripoli.
Haftar denies overseeing war crimes and has repeatedly said he is not a US citizen.
The committee also accepted the candidacy of interim Prime Minister Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah. Dbeibah had previously vowed not to run for president as a condition for assuming his current role. But he did not resign three months before the vote as required by the contested electoral law.
The Libyan electoral commission did not respond to The independents request for comment on the review. The office of the acting Libyan prime minister could not be reached immediately for comment.
Dbeibah dismissed the electoral rules as “flawed”. The rules were originally published in September by parliament speaker Aguila Saleh, who is also a candidate.
Outgoing UN envoy to Libya Jan Kubis told the UN Security Council on Wednesday that Libyan justice would make the final decision on the rules and the eligibility of candidates.
Analysts believe that the exclusion of Gaddafi could help ease tensions in Libya but will not end his political ambitions. For now, his supporters may be looking for other candidates to support.
“Symbolically, Saif is back,” Megerisi said. “He will try – and probably fail – to rally his father’s supporters, and much of the old guard will now be courted by other political camps. ”
The Independent Gt