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Appeals against Dbeibah, Saif al-Islam's Candidacies Dominate Libya Elections

Appeals against Dbeibah, Saif al-Islam's Candidacies Dominate Libya Elections

Monday, 29 November, 2021 - 06:15
A woman checks names to receive her electoral card inside a polling station in Tripoli, Libya, on November 8. (AFP)

Libya's High National Election Commission extended to Wednesday the deadline for people to receive their voter card for the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections.

It justified the extension by citing the high turnout to receive their cards. It also acknowledged some of the difficulties some people have faced in showing up in person to receive them.

Over 2 million people have received their cards.

Meanwhile, appeals have been submitted against the candidacy of head of the Government of National Unity (GNU), Abdulhamid Dbeibah. Son of late ruler Moammar al-Gaddafi, Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi, has also appealed his disqualification from the race.

Activists have cited Dbeibah's dual nationality as sufficient reason to dismiss his candidacy.

Meanwhile, the UN mission to Libya expressed alarm on Friday about an incident at a court where Saif al-Islam's lawyer said armed men stopped him from lodging an appeal against his client's disqualification.

The UN Support Mission in Libya said it was alarmed by the reported attack at the appeal court in Sebha on Thursday, strongly condemned any form of electoral-related violence, and reiterated that the electoral process must be protected.

The US Embassy in Libya said it shared the UN mission's concerns over violence related to the Dec. 24 election, which is part of a peace process meant to end a decade of turmoil but has stirred fears of renewed conflict.

The elections commission disqualified Saif al-Islam and 24 others on Wednesday.

Gaddafi's lawyer, Khaled al-Zaidi, said in a video that armed men had raided the court in the southern city of Sebha, one of only three registration centers, and stopped him entering to lodge his client's appeal.

The Justice Ministry in Tripoli said an armed group had forced everyone to leave the court building.

No faction claimed responsibility for the attack.

In a statement on its Twitter feed, the US Embassy said: "Attacks against judicial or election facilities or judicial or elections personnel are not only criminal acts, punishable under Libyan law, but also undermine Libyans’ right to participate in the political process."

Saif al-Islam's candidacy was rejected on the basis of a 2015 conviction in absentia by a Tripoli court for war crimes committed during the fighting that ousted his father in 2011.

The court in Sebha was able to review the appeal on Sunday.

Meanwhile, head of the Presidential Council, Mohamed al-Menfi stressed that he was "working hard" to ensure that the elections are a success by providing all guarantees that ensure that they are "transparent and free and reflect the will of the Libyan people".

Menfi met with Jan Kubis, outgoing United Nations envoy, on Sunday.

He quoted the diplomat as saying that the UN supports the presidential and parliamentary elections and the international community is hoping that they will be held and allow the Libyans to restore stability and peace.

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