No decision on the candidacy of Gaddafi’s son: election in Libya

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The Libyan electoral commission rejected reports that it had rejected the candidacy of Seif al-Islam Gaddafi in the upcoming presidential elections.

Commission spokesperson Khaled al-Mennai told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the electoral commission’s official website and social media accounts had been affected by “cyber attacks”.

He explained that information posted online about the rejection of Seif al-Islam Gaddafi’s candidacy was deleted soon after.

“There was no decision (taken by the commission) regarding Saif al-Islam’s candidacy,” al-Mennai said.

Meanwhile, elders in several cities have called for a boycott of the presidential elections and protesters closed polling stations in western Libya on Monday after Seif al-Islam registered to run.

An influential council of elders in Misrata, a town that played a key role in the 2011 uprising that toppled his father, called for a boycott of the elections.

The council rejects “the candidacy of those who have used excessive force against the uprising of the Libyan people and who are the target of arrest warrants from the Libyan courts and the International Criminal Court,” he said. in a press release.

He urged “free patriots” to protest against the holding of elections before a constitutional basis is agreed.

A member of the electoral commission, the High National Electoral Commission (HNEC), told Agence France Presse (AFP) that “residents protesting against the candidacy of Seif al-Islam Gaddafi in the presidential elections have closed several polling stations ” in the West.

The official, who asked not to be named, said there had been no violence and the polling stations had not been damaged.

Seif al-Islam Gaddafi announced on Sunday his candidacy for the country’s next presidential and parliamentary elections to be held on December 24, the Libyan NHEC announced.

Seif al-Islam, wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity related to the 2011 uprising, filed his candidacy documents in the southern city of Sabha, 650 kilometers (400 miles) south of the capital of Tripoli, NHEC said in a statement.

Gaddafi’s son was captured by fighters in Zintan in late 2011, the year a NATO-backed popular uprising overthrew his father after more than 40 years in power. Muammar Gaddafi was later killed amid the ensuing fighting, which turned into a civil war. As a result, oil-rich Libya has spent most of the past decade between rival governments – one based in the capital, Tripoli, and the other in the country’s east.

In a video shared by an election official, Seif al-Islam addressed the camera, saying God would decide the right course for the country’s future. He wore a traditional Libyan robe and turban and glasses. It was the first time in years that he had appeared in public.

He was considered the reformist face of the Gaddafi regime before the uprising of 2011. He was released in June 2017 after more than five years in detention. In July, he told the New York Times in an exclusive interview that he was considering a candidacy for the country’s top office. His candidacy is likely to spark controversy across the divided country.

ICC spokesman Fadi El Abdallah declined to comment on Seif al-Islam’s candidacy. “The Court does not comment on political issues, because for the legal side, there is an arrest warrant pending and that has not changed,” he said.

Gaddafi’s son, who has deep-rooted ties to tribes across Libya, is the first major presidential hopeful to apply for the country’s top post. Other potential candidates include the putschist General Khalifa Haftar, the commander of the forces based in the East during the civil war, the Speaker of the Parliament Aguila Saleh and the former Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha.

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