Libya – Candidates for the December 24 presidential and legislative elections in Libya can begin registering on Monday, according to the electoral commission. “This is the true beginning of the electoral process,” the commission’s director, Imad al-Sayeh, told reporters on Sunday, referring to a decade of violence in the North African country. “Candidate registration for the presidential election will be open from November 8 to November 22,” he said, adding that “candidate registration for the parliamentary election will be open from November 8 to December 7.”
Oil-rich Since the toppling and assassination of veteran leader Moamer Kadhafi in a NATO-backed insurrection in 2011, Libya has been torn apart by conflict. The surveys are part of UN-backed peace initiatives that have enabled Libya’s war-torn country to enjoy a year of relative calm following a ceasefire. Following UN-sponsored discussions in October, opposing eastern and western governments agreed to a truce, which resulted in a transitional government taking office in March to guide the country toward elections.
Foreign powers have been pushing for the elections to be held on the same day, December 24, as scheduled, following UN consultations last year. Infighting about an election schedule and the validity of the polls has also plagued the beleaguered country. A meeting of world powers, including France and the United States, will be held in Paris on November 12 to make a new push to restore stability in Libya.
The High National Elections Commission (HNEC) announced on Sunday that 2.83 million Libyans have already registered to vote, out of a population of seven million. Khalifa Haftar, a military commander located in the east, is largely likely to run for president. Seif al-Islam Kadhafi, Kadhafi’s former heir apparent who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, has also expressed interest in running for president. When asked if Haftar’s and Kadhafi’s profiles meet the criteria for becoming candidates, Sayeh responded that “all those who fulfill the standards necessary by law can” register.
Former interior minister Fathi Bashagha is one of five candidates who have publicly announced their candidacy for president. Sayeh predicted “minimal violations” during the polls but promised the commission would ensure they were “free and honest.”