Libya to start registering election candidates in November

Electoral commission will begin registering candidates amid ongoing wrangling over the constitutional basis for the vote.

Emad al-Sayah, chairman of Libya's High National Election Commission, said candidates will begin registration in November [Hani Amara/Reuters]

Registration of candidates for Libya’s elections will open next month, the High National Election Commission has said ahead of the landmark vote scheduled for December.

Emad al-Sayah, head of the Election Commission, said on Sunday the registration process was expected to start in mid-November, after technical and logistical preparations were complete.

The first round of the presidential election will be held on December 24. A second round, along with a parliamentary election, will be contested at a later date, al-Sayah said.

The vote is a key step in a United Nations-backed process to end a decade of violence by creating a new political leadership whose legitimacy is widely accepted.

Libya’s prime minister and several foreign powers endorsed the holding of a national election at the Libya Stabilisation Conference in Tripoli on October 21.

Yet, Al Jazeera’s Malik Traina, reporting from Tripoli, said a constitutional framework had yet to be agreed upon.

“Who can run for president, what kind of powers does a president have?” Traina said, listing a few outstanding questions.

According to the Libyan Political Agreement signed in 2015, the High Council of State based in Tripoli and the House of Representatives in Tobruk, in eastern Libya, have to agree upon this framework to hold elections.

In Tripoli, legislators voted in favour of setting conditions that bar renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar, eastern Libya strongman, from running for president. In Tobruk, however, a vote resulted in favour of conditions that allow Haftar to run.

“We are going to have to wait and see what kind of solution the various sides come up with in order for Libyans to be able to carry out the vote,” Traina said.

Haftar, who heads the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) and has waged war after the country split in 2014, said in September he would step down from his military role for three months, paving  the way to stand as president

His 14-month offensive to take Tripoli was repelled last year but devastated areas of the capital.

People close to Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, son of the late overthrown leader Muammar Gaddafi and once the second-most powerful man in Libya, have signalled he may also be among the candidates running in the next elections.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies