Libyan parliament speaker announces presidential candidacy | Breaking News Updates

Libyan parliament speaker announces presidential candidacy

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The influential speaker of the Libyan parliament announced he would run for president, making him the last candidate to join the race for the country’s top office after years of war

CAIRO – The influential speaker of the Libyan parliament announced on Wednesday evening that he would run for president, making him the last candidate to join the race for the country’s highest office after years of civil war.

Saleh has been a fixture on the Libyan political scene in recent years. The body he heads came to power in elections in 2014 that ended up being contested. The country subsequently split further into territories with rival authorities, and the legislature fled the capital of Tripoli to the eastern city of Tobruk after a court ruled it was no longer legitimate. .

“We are working to overcome the past, close the chapter on conflict and move forward,” Saleh said in the video statement.

Libya has been in chaos since a NATO-backed uprising toppled longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, who was later killed.

The oil-rich nation has for years been divided between a government in the east, backed by military commander Khalifa Hifter, and a UN-backed administration in Tripoli, aided by Libyan militias based in the West. Each side also had the support of mercenaries and foreign forces from Turkey, Russia and Syria and different regional powers.

As of February, a unity government that has been appointed by UN-led talks is supposed to lead the country to the December elections. In recent days, several high-level candidates have come forward.

Hifter announced his candidacy on Tuesday, while Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, the late dictator’s son and heir apparent, filed his official candidacy documents in the southern city of Sabha on Sunday. Seif al-Islam, wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, has spent the last few years in hiding after being released from a prison run by militias in the town of Zintan in June 2017.

Hifter’s forces have already besieged Tripoli in a year-long campaign to attempt to capture the capital, and he is charged in at least three separate federal lawsuits filed in a US court where plaintiffs allege their loved ones were killed or tortured by his strength.

Obstacles to voting include occasional internal struggles between armed groups and the deep rift that remains between eastern and western Libya and the presence of thousands of foreign fighters and soldiers.

Hifter, a dual US and Libyan citizen, commands the so-called Libyan Arab Armed Forces, but delegated his military duties in September to qualify for candidacy under applicable laws.

Saleh also left office three months ago to become eligible to run under the country’s current electoral laws. Before 2011, he had worked as a judge in the east of the country.

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