Libya parliament Speaker set to launch presidential bid

Libyan parliament Speaker Aguila Saleh announced on Wednesday that he will run for president, entering a race that also includes a prominent warlord and a son of former leader Moammar Gadhafi, Reuters reported.

Saleh launched his presidential campaign ahead of the upcoming United Nations-backed special election in an effort to end a decadelong conflict between Libya’s eastern and western factions. 

Saleh joins other prominent Libyan figures, including Seif al-Islam Gadhafi and Khalifa Haftar, head of the self-styled Libyan National Army, who also announced their candidacies for president over the past week.

Saleh, who was sanctioned by the U.S. and United Nations (U.N.) for refusing to recognize the U.N.-backed interim government formed in 2015, cited the importance of elections in announcing his candidacy. 

“Public voting is the only source of legitimacy for any authority,” Saleh said in televised comments, via Reuters. 

Critics have questioned the legal framework of the national election, which is just six weeks away. 

They have noted that a law Saleh issued in September was done without a full vote or proper quorum, adding that key provisions were designed to help Saleh and his ally Haftar run for office without the risk of losing their positions if they lose.

Defenders of Selah argued the law was properly passed through the parliament, accusing critics of attempting to delay the country’s first election since 2014. 

Libya’s election is set to take place on Dec. 24.

Tags Aguila Saleh libya

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