Candidate list for Libyan elections held back as number of nominees soars

Release of names of presidential hopefuls also delayed

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The release of candidate list for Libya’s parliamentary elections is on hold owing to the number of registered nominees.

More time is needed to review the applications – of which there are more than 5,385 – to run for 200 seats in the parliamentary polls, the country’s electoral commission said on Monday.

Two rounds will be held, on December 24 and January, the High National Electoral Commission of Libya said.

“Given that the number of requests has exceeded expectations, the auditing and review process will take longer than planned,” it said.

Days earlier, the elections body had said it would delay releasing the final list of presidential candidates.

The election this month will be the first since the fall of long-time dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, after which the country descended into civil war.

With only 11 days to go, international and local efforts to ensure the elections take place as planned have intensified.

Experts say delays are likely because candidates have the right to see the lists at least two weeks before the polls open.

The UN’s newly appointed special adviser on Libya, Stephanie Williams, met HNEC chairman Imad Al Sayed on Sunday to discuss the process.

On Sunday, 16 of the 98 presidential candidates who had submitted their nomination papers spoke online and agreed to accept the election’s results regardless of the outcome.

They also said they would stand against any attempt to sabotage the democratic process.

Several controversial figures have submitted bids for candidacy, including Saif Al Islam Qaddafi, sought by the International Criminal Court over crimes against humanity. His disqualification was overturned by a Libyan court last week.

Also planning to run is Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army, who is being sued in the US over civilian deaths.

Other candidates include interim Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, former interior minister Fathi Bashagha and Aref Ali Nayed, a former ambassador to the UAE who leads the liberal Ihya Libya party.

Updated: December 13, 2021, 5:12 PM