Saif Al Islam Qaddafi disqualified from Libya's presidential race

Country's electoral commission has ruled the former leader's son is not eligible to stand

Saif Al Islam Qaddafi registers as a presidential candidate for the December 24 election, at the registration centre in the southern town of Sebha, Libya November 14, 2021. Reuters
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Libya's electoral commission said on Wednesday that Saif Al Islam Qaddafi was ineligible to run in the country’s first election next month to choose a president democratically.

Mr Qaddafi was one of 25 candidates who the commission disqualified in an initial decision, pending an appeals process that will ultimately be decided by the judiciary. About 98 Libyans have registered as candidates.

Libya is set to hold the first round of presidential elections on December 24, after years of UN-led attempts to usher in a more democratic future and end the country’s civil war.

Following the 2011 overthrow and killing of Mummar Qaddafi, oil-rich Libya spent most of the last decade split between rival governments.

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

“The decision was made in line with the responses to our inquiries, which we received from the attorney general, the head of the Criminal Investigation Agency, and the head of the Passports and Nationality Authority, based on the articles of Law No. (1) of 2021 regarding the election of the head of state,” it said.

The commission said Mr Qaddafi was ruled out because he has a conviction. In July 2015 he was given the death sentence in his absence in Tripoli for war crimes.

The military prosecutor in Tripoli had urged the commission to rule out Mr Qaddafi after his conviction for his part in fighting the uprising that toppled his father, Muammar Qaddafi, in 2011. He has denied any charges.

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

They are also entitled to resort to the court of appellate in case the commission upholds its initial decision.

Mr Qaddafi's candidacy is mired in controversy. On November 14, he appeared in public for the first time in years to announce is candidacy, claiming widespread support for his bid for the presidency. But he has not proved to be a consensus candidate.

He had been captured by fighters in the town of Zintan late in 2011, as the uprising ended his father’s rule after 40 years. He was released in June 2017.

Many people in his power base in the south are rallying behind him and longing for the stability under his ousted and later killed father after 10 years of civil war.

Others, mainly in the west, have condemned his candidacy as a remake of a totalitarian rule. They have dismissed his national reconciliation talk as just window dressing.

The commission’s decision came as sharp differences between political parties over balloting rules have cast doubt on the electoral process.

UN Libya envoy Jan Kubis, 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.

Updated: November 25, 2021, 11:23 AM