Libya – Hundreds of Libyans demonstrated in Tripoli on Friday against “war criminals” competing in the presidential election next month, after eastern strongman, Khalifa Haftar and the son of former dictator Moamer Kadhafi announced their candidacies. Demonstrators stomped on posters of Haftar and Seif al-Islam Kadhafi, expressing their displeasure with a contentious electoral law that has been criticized for circumventing due process and favoring Haftar’s bid. One speaker said that all those who have committed crimes against the Libyan people should be excluded from the race.
“Our martyrs’ blood was not shed in vain,” cried another. The rallies follow a week in which both Haftar and Kadhafi registered to run in the December 24 election, which is part of an UN-led process aimed at putting an end to a decade of turmoil that began with the fall and assassination of Kadhafi senior in a 2011 revolution. However, deep disputes over the legal and constitutional framework have tarnished the run-up to the vote, and many in western Libya have condemned any attempt by Haftar, who led a devastating but ultimately unsuccessful effort to grab the city before being forced back in 2020.
On Friday, one activist held a poster that read, “No to elections without a constitutional basis!” Hundreds of protesters turned out for a similar protest in the Libyan port city of Misrata, according to Libyan media. “Yes to elections, no to criminals!” chanted protesters. The head of the parliament’s upper house, the High Council of State, situated in Tripoli, said he would boycott the poll and warned against holding it without a legal framework agreed upon by all parties.
“The situation in Libya right now is weird. There is no constitutional foundation for this, and there is no clean electoral list. ” In a Facebook video, Khalid al-Mishri remarked. “We are aware of the overwhelming desire for change among all Libyans.” However, the group said they wanted elections to be guided by a constitution or on a constitutional foundation.