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Over 90 candidates jostle for Libya’s presidential seat

By News Desk

The Libya’s Electoral Commission has disclosed that no fewer than 98 candidates, including two women, had registered to run in a presidential election scheduled for December.

As stated, among the most notable hopefuls are Seif al-Islam Kadhafi, the son of slain dictator Moamer Kadhafi, and Khalifa Haftar, leader of the self-styled Libyan National Army in control of the country’s east and parts of the south.

Also in the running are former Interior Minister, Fathi Bashagha, and Prime Minister, Abdulhamid Dbeibah, of the interim, UN-brokered Government of National Unity.

Meanwhile, only two women have stepped forward as candidates: Laila Ben Khalifa, 46, the president and founder of the National Movement party, and Hunayda al-Mahdi, a researcher in the social sciences.

Confirming the development, the country’s Head of Electoral Commission, Imad al-Sayeh, while briefing journalists on Tuesday at Tripoli, said that “the candidate registration platform has received the papers of 98 candidates who met the conditions.”

The polls come as the UN seeks to end a decade of violence that has rocked the oil-rich nation since a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed Kadhafi in 2011.

The final candidates’ list would be published within 12 days, once verifications and appeals are completed, said Sayeh, a day after the deadline for submitting applications.

The commission “will pass on the papers to the prosecutor general, the department of passports and nationality and to the General Intelligence” to ensure candidates comply with the electoral law.

Registration for Libya’s first-ever direct presidential poll on December 24 took place in three commission offices, in Tripoli in the west, Benghazi in the east and Sebha in the south.

More than 2.8 million of Libya’s seven million people are registered to vote. The head of the electoral commission said that so far “more than 1.7 million voters have received their (voting) cards”.

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