Libya set to open registration for election candidates

Libya’s High National Elections Commission said it would open registration for candidates in presidential, parliamentary elections on Monday.

Emad Al-Sayeh, Head of the High National Election Commission, left, said it had received amendments to the law from the parliament [File: Ismail Zitouny/Reuters]

Libya’s High National Elections Commission says it will open registration on Monday for candidates in presidential and parliamentary elections that have been mandated by a United Nations-backed roadmap on December 24.

Wrangling over the legal basis for the election, as well as its date and qualifications for candidates, has threatened to derail a peace process that was seen as Libya’s best hope in years of ending chronic instability and violence.

Potential candidates include Khalifa Haftar, the commander of renegade eastern-based forces in the civil war; Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of the former longtime leader; parliament head Aguila Saleh; and a former interior minister, Fathi Bashagha.

The UN peace process also led to the installation of an interim unity government and installed Abdul Hamid Dbeibah as prime minister. He and others in the government swore not to run in any December election but analysts say he may consider doing so anyway.

An election law proposed by the parliament in September was rejected by the bodies’ critics, including other political entities, for breaching some conditions set by the UN roadmap.

The law set a first round of the presidential election in December but said the date for parliamentary elections would not be set until January.

Election commission chairman Emad al-Sayeh, who has previously said parliamentary elections would take place within 30 days of the presidential election, said the commission had received amendments to the law from the parliament.

Registration for presidential election candidates would be open until November 22 and for parliamentary candidates until December 7, he said on Sunday.

Al Jazeera’s Libya correspondent Malik Traina said the commission’s statement was a “bold” one.

“They definitely seem [to be] moving forward a plan to get the elections to happen as scheduled,” Traina said from Doha.

But there are other questions that remain unanswered, such as the legislative bodies – one of which is based in eastern Libya, and the other in western Libya, he said.

“They’re supposed to agree on a constitutional framework for these elections to happen, that includes who can run for president, what kind of powers does a president have,” Traina said.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies