Libya’s eastern commander Haftar announces election bid

This image from Libyan television channel Libya Alhadath TV on Nov 16, 2021 shows east Libya strongman Khalifa Haftar announcing his candidacy for the next month's presidential election during a televised speech. (LIBYA ALHADATH TV / AFP)

BENGHAZI- Eastern commander Khalifa Haftar will run in Libya's presidential elections due next month, he announced in a televised speech on Tuesday.

Khalifa Haftar, commander of a force called the Libyan National Army, waged war on factions in the west after the country split in 2014

"Elections are the only way out of the severe crisis that our country has plunged into," said Haftar, who was expected to formally register later on Tuesday at the election center in Benghazi.

Haftar, commander of a force called the Libyan National Army, waged war on factions in the west after the country split in 2014, including a 14-month offensive to capture Tripoli which was repelled by the internationally recognized government.

Haftar's decision to run will anger many in Tripoli and western regions who say no vote in areas he holds can be fair and who accuse him of war crimes during the assault, something he denies.

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The election is meant as a milestone in the political process to knit Libya back together after a decade of chaos that spiralled out of the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that ousted Muammar Gaddafi.

However, with no clear agreement on the legal basis for the election, major factions may reject the vote.