Benghazi, Libya Libya’s highest electoral body on Wednesday disqualified the son and former heir of the late dictator Moammar Gaddafi and prevented him from running in next month’s presidential election because of his previous convictions.
The name Seif al-Islam Gaddafi appeared on a list of disqualified candidates published by Libya’s High National Election Commission. You can appeal the decision to court within the next few days.
Seif al-Islam was sentenced to death by a court in Tripoli in 2015 for using force against protesters in an uprising against his father in 2011. That verdict has since been questioned by rival authorities in Libya. He is also wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity related to the uprising.
Libya is scheduled to hold its first round of presidential elections on December 24, after years of UN-sponsored efforts to give the country a more democratic future and end its civil war. Concerns about the election were exacerbated by the resignation of Libya’s top UN envoy last week, although he said on Wednesday that he was willing to remain in the electoral process.
Following the fall and assassination of Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, the oil country spent most of the last decade divided between rival governments, one based in the capital Tripoli and another in the eastern part of the country. Each side had the support of mercenaries and foreign forces from Turkey, Russia and Syria, as well as other regional powers.
The son of the former Libyan dictator registered his candidacy in the city of Sabha in the south on November 14. It was the first public appearance in several years for the 49-year-old Gaddafi with a doctorate from the London School of Economics.
In late 2011, he was captured by combatants in the city of Zintan, when the uprising ended his father’s 40-year rule. Seif al-Islam was released in June 2017.
The announcement of his possible candidacy aroused controversy in the divided country, where other well-known candidates have emerged in recent weeks. Among them are the powerful military commander Khalifa Hifter and the country’s acting prime minister, Abdul Hamid Dbeibah.
The long-awaited vote still faces challenges such as unresolved issues of election laws and individual fights within armed groups. Other obstacles are the deep divisions that continue to exist between the eastern and western parts of the country and the presence of thousands of foreign warriors and troops.