Eastern Commander Khalifa Haftar will run in Libyan presidential elections scheduled for next month, he said in a televised speech on Tuesday.
“The elections are the only way out of the serious crisis in which our country is plunged,” said Haftar, who was due to register officially later Tuesday at the electoral center in Benghazi.
Haftar, commander of a force called the Libyan National Army, waged war on Western factions after the country split in 2014, including a 14-month offensive to capture Tripoli which was repelled by the internationally recognized government.
Haftar’s decision to run will anger many in Tripoli and the western regions who say that no vote in the areas he holds can be fair and who accuse him of war crimes during the assault, which he denies.
#UPDATE Eastern Libya’s military strongman Khalifa Haftar has said he will run for president
“I declare my candidacy for the presidential election, not because I pursue power but because I want to lead our people towards glory, progress and prosperity” pic.twitter.com/yvAc7GvpS6
– AFP News Agency (@AFP) November 16, 2021 The election is believed to be a milestone in the political process to rebuild Libya after a decade of chaos resulting from the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi .
However, without a clear agreement on the legal basis for the election, major factions can reject the vote.