Libya eyes presidential runoff in February, official says

A vaccination campaign against the coronavirus is underway for detained migrants, organized jointly by the Libyan center for disease control and the International Organization for Migration, in Tripoli, Libya on Oct 6, 2021. (YOUSEF MURAD / AP)

Libya expects to hold any presidential runoff vote around the middle of February, the head of the country’s election commission said Tuesday.

The second round is to take place 52 days after the first, which is scheduled for Dec 24, Emad al-Saeh said in a televised press conference. Al-Saeh said a total of 98 candidates had registered for the vote, although a final list in expected on Dec 7 after the names have been signed off as being eligible to run.

Under election rules, a runoff vote would be held if no one candidate secures more than 50 percent of the ballots

READ MORE: Libya unveils plan for upcoming presidential, parliamentary elections

Under election rules, a runoff vote would be held if no one candidate secures more than 50 percent of the ballots.

Among those who have registered are Saif al-Islam Al Qaddafi, a son of the ousted Libyan strongman, eastern military commander Khalifa Haftar and the current prime minister, Abdul Hamid Dbeibah. 

Al Qaddafi is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity during the 2011 uprising that led to his father’s ouster and killing. Haftar holds dual US-Libyan nationality, a status that could impede his bid. Current election law requires officeholders to step down three months ahead of the vote, which could also pose a problem for Dbeibah’s candidacy.

The December vote is seen as a landmark event in Libya, potentially ushering in what officials there bill as a new era of democracy in the OPEC member nation roiled by conflict for much of the past decade.

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