Libya: After Haftar, HoR speaker unveils candidacy for Dec. 24 presidential elections

Libya: After Haftar, HoR speaker unveils candidacy for Dec. 24 presidential elections

The Speaker of the Libyan House of Representative (HoR), Aguila Saleh, announced Wednesday that he will run for December 24 presidential elections, one day after his ally and controversial military strongman Khalifa Haftar revealed similar plans.

The head of the state legislature, based in the eastern city of Tobruk, announced his bid on Dubai-based Al Hadath television channel.

“We are working to overcome the past, to close the page of conflict in the country, to open a new page and look to the future in a healthier way and to initiate national reconciliation,” he said.

Saleh, close to the UAE, also said he is willing to “unite the institutions in the country, support security and create a mechanism for accountability and control.”

“National reconciliation is a cornerstone for the stability of our country.” Prior to the announcement, Saleh has been reportedly absent from the parliament proceedings – fueling speculation that he was planning for the elections.

In September, the HoR, under Saleh leadership, enacted on the presidential election that would allow serving officials to stand for office so long as they temporarily stepped down from their posts three months before the vote. According to the law, the candidacy of Haftar is valid.


Libya’s former Interior Minister, Fathi Bashagha, also registered for the presidential election.


“I announce running for presidential polls and have applied for my candidacy to the commission,” Bashagha said, after submitting his application to the High National Election Commissionon Thursday.


“Libya will not return to what it was before 2011, it is completely different from what it was before … We have full confidence that the Libyan people will choose us.”


Seif al Islam Kaddafi, son of the late Libyan leader Muammar Kaddafi, has also presented his candidacy for the presidential polls.


Incumbent interim Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Mohammed Dbeibah is also speculated to be harboring plans to seek the country’s top job. Dbeibah however early this week said he will announce his intentions at the “appropriate moment.”


However, the electoral commission will rule on the validity of candidacies after examining the applications. In the case of Haftar, his dual citizenship and military role may stand as obstacles against the criteria for the candidacy, while Seif al Islam is still wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes.


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