The Libyan electoral commission said on Wednesday that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of the former leader and major candidate in the presidential election slated for December, was ineligible, exacerbating the unrest surrounding the vote.
Gaddafi was one of 25 candidates he disqualified in an initial decision pending an appeal process that will ultimately be decided by justice. Some 98 Libyans have registered as candidates.
Disputes over electoral rules, including the legal basis for voting and who should be eligible, threaten to derail an internationally-backed peace process aimed at ending a decade of factional chaos.
The Tripoli military prosecutor had urged the commission to dismiss Gaddafi after his conviction in absentia for war crimes in 2015 for his role in the fight against the revolution that overthrew his father Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. He denied having committed any wrongdoing. .
Some of the other candidates initially approved by the committee had also been accused of possible violations by political rivals.
Acting Prime Minister Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah has vowed not to run for president as a condition for assuming his current role, and did not step down three months before the vote as required by a contested election law.
Another prominent candidate, East Commander Khalifa Haftar, is said to have American nationality, which could also exclude him. Many people in western Libya also accuse him of war crimes committed during his 2019-20 assault on Tripoli.
Haftar denies war crimes and says he is not a US citizen.
Dbeibah described as “flawed” the electoral rules published in September by the president of parliament Aguila Saleh, who is also a candidate.
The UN envoy to Libya, Jan Kubis, who is resigning from his post, told the UN Security Council on Wednesday that the Libyan justice system will make the final decision on the rules and on the eligibility of the candidates.