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Qaddafi’s son blocked in bid to become Libya’s first freely elected president

- AHMED MAHER

Saif Al Islam Qaddafi is ineligible to take part in the race to be Libya’s first democratic­ally elected president, says the country’s electoral commission.

The son of deposed leader Muammar Qaddafi was one of 25 candidates who on Wednesday were disqualifi­ed from next month’s elections.

He was one of 25 candidates who were disqualifi­ed, pending a judicial appeals process.

Ninety-eight Libyans registered as candidates

The first round of presidenti­al elections will be held on December 24, after years of UN-led attempts to usher in a more democratic future and end Libya’s civil war.

The country has been split between rival government­s since the downfall and death of Muammar Qaddafi in late 2011.

The electoral commission said the disqualifi­ed candidates did not meet the conditions for candidacy.

“The decision was made in line with the responses to our inquiries,” it said.

National authoritie­s including the police and attorney general were consulted.

The commission said Qaddafi was ruled out because he had a criminal conviction. He was sentenced to death by a Tripoli court in 2015 for using violence against protesters during the 2011 uprising against his father, but that ruling has since been called into question by Libya’s rival authoritie­s.

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

On November 14, he appeared in public for the first time in years to announce his candidacy, claiming widespread support for his bid for the presidency.

Many in his power base in the south of Libya rallied behind him in the hope of a return to the relative stability they experience­d under his father after 10 years of civil war.

But others, mainly in the west of the country, fear a return of totalitari­an rule and dismiss his talk of national reconcilia­tion as window dressing.

The excluded candidates have 12 days to lodge a complaint with the commission, which is required by law to reply within 72 hours of receiving the grievances.

They are also entitled to resort to a court of appeal should the commission uphold its initial decision.

Still on the candidate list are Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, parliament­ary Speaker Aguila Saleh, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar and former interior minister Fathi Bashagha.

The UN’s Libya envoy Jan Kubis, who is stepping down from his post, told the UN Security Council on Wednesday that the Libyan courts would decide whether candidates were eligible.

The Geneva-based diplomat serves as special envoy for Libya and head of the UN political mission in the country.

Mr Kubis told the council he would remain in the job until after the elections.

He said he was leaving to ease a change that he considers vital – moving the mission chief’s job to Tripoli to be on the ground at a crucial moment for Libya.

The suggestion of moving the job posting divided the council during discussion­s in September.

Western countries embraced it, while Russia rejected it.

Qaddafi was one of 25 candidates who were disqualifi­ed from running, pending a judicial appeals process

 ?? EPA ?? Saif Al Islam Qaddafi cannot run for Libya’s presidency
EPA Saif Al Islam Qaddafi cannot run for Libya’s presidency

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