Libyan Speaker Aguila Saleh enters presidential race

Aguila Saleh says he will seek to 'turn the page on conflict'

The speaker of Libya's eastern-based Parliament, Aguila Saleh, says he will run in next month's presidential election, after two high-profile but controversial figures also announced their intentions to stand.

“I announce my candidacy for the presidency,” Mr Saleh said in a televised speech.

He said he would seek to “turn the page on conflict, look towards the future” and launch a process of national reconciliation, which he said was a “pillar of a stable nation".

“I commit to respecting the constitutional declaration, to guaranteeing the independency of the judiciary and preserving Libya's unity and independence,” Mr Saleh said.

He said establishing a democratic system to guarantee freedom, justice and equality for all was among his priorities.

Mr Saleh still needs to register with the electoral commission to run in the December 24 poll.

His announcement came a day after Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, 77, said he would run, and less than a week after Saif Al Islam Qaddafi, son of fallen dictator Muammar, confirmed his plan to stand.

Field Marshal Haftar announced in September that he would step down from his military role for three months in a move many regarded as ensuring he qualified as a candidate in the elections.

They are scheduled for December 24 but are still in doubt given splits in the transitional government.

Field Marshal Haftar has been a divisive but important player in Libya since the uprising.

He said he wanted to be president “not because I am chasing power, but because I want to lead our people towards glory, progress and prosperity".

Mr Qaddafi registered his candidacy on Sunday.

With less than six weeks before a UN-backed vote that is intended to end a decade of civil war, some fear his move will add to the growing controversy over who should run in Libya’s first electoral process to choose a president.

“His announcement might put the whole election process in doubt because simply, there are many Libyans who feel insulted and provoked, as well as feeling, 'what is the point of going through a revolution and 10 years of conflict and a lot of destruction, bloodshed and loss of lives?'" Guma El Gamaty, head of Taghyeer Party, told The National.

"And now we just go back to square one."

Updated: November 17th 2021, 10:38 PM