Libya’s top electoral body on Wednesday disqualified the son and one-time heir apparent of the late dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi from running for president in elections to be held next month, citing his previous convictions.
The name of Seif al-Islam Gaddafi appeared on a list of ineligible candidates issued by the country’s High National Elections Committee. He can appeal the decision in court in the coming days.
Seif al-Islam had been sentenced to death by a Tripoli court in 2015 for using violence against protesters in a 2011 uprising against his father, but that ruling has since been called into question by Libya’s rival authorities. He is also wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity related to the uprising.
Libya is set to hold the first round of presidential elections on December 24, after years of UN-led attempts to usher in a more democratic future and end the country’s civil war.
Adding to the concerns surrounding the election, the UN’s top envoy for Libya submitted his resignation last week, though he said Wednesday he is prepared to stay on through the vote if needed.
Following the 2011 overthrow and killing of Moammar Gaddafi, oil-rich Libya spent most of the last decade split between rival governments — one based in the capital, Tripoli, and the other in the eastern part of the country.
Each side in the civil war has also had the support of mercenaries and foreign forces from Turkey, Russia and Syria and other regional powers.
The son of Libya’s former dictator submitted his candidacy papers in the southern town of Sabha on November 14.
It was the first time in years that the 49-year-old, who earned a PhD at the London School of Economics, appeared in public.
The announcement of his possible candidacy stirred controversy across the divided country, where a number of other high-profile candidates have also emerged in recent weeks. Among them are powerful military commander Khalifa Hifter and the country’s interim prime minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah.