Libya’s top electoral body on Wednesday disqualified the son and onetime heir apparent of the late dictator Moammar Gadhafi from running for president in elections to be held next month, citing his previous convictions, reports Associated Press.
The name of Seif al-Islam Gadhafi 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 Dec. 24, after years of U.N.-led attempts to usher in a more democratic future and end the country’s civil war.
The son of Libya’s former dictator submitted his candidacy papers in the southern town of Sabha on Nov. 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.
He had been captured by fighters in the town of Zintan late in 2011, as the uprising ended his father’s rule after 40 years. Seif al-Islam was released in June 2017.
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.
The long-awaited vote still faces challenges, including unresolved issues over laws governing the elections, and occasional infighting among armed groups. Other obstacles include the deep rift that remains between the country’s east and west and the presence of thousands of foreign fighters and troops.