A TOTAL of 98 candidates, including two females, have submitted applications for the first direct presidential election in Libya as the application ended on Tuesday.
Emad Al-Sayeh, Chairman of the High National Elections Commission, on Tuesday told a press conference in Tripoli that 98 people have submitted applications for presidential candidacy, and a primary list of candidates will be published in two days.
Most of the country’s political and military figures, as well as a large number of activists, academics, and artists are running for president.
Abdulhakim Bayo, the first presidential candidate to submit an application to the Elections Commission, said the upcoming elections are the first democratic elections in the North African country since 2011.
‘I am positive that these elections are a chance for me to serve my country,’ Bayo said.
The House of Representatives, the country’s parliament, approved the presidential election law in September and approved the parliamentary election law in October.
According to the laws, the president will be elected at the end of December by direct general secret ballots, while the parliament will be elected after a month from the presidential election.
Mahmoud Khalafallah, a political analyst, believes the record number of presidential candidates is expected, given the new democratic experience in Libya.
‘Everyone believes that they can be a president of the country, especially in the absence of one real candidate who can guarantee to win the presidency,’ Khalafallah said.
‘There are no politicians or figures in Libya with long experience in this field. Therefore, this made even those who do not have a political history believe in their opportunity to win the votes,’ he added.
The political analyst also pointed out that some candidates are running for president as a political manoeuvre, attempting to gain a position in the elected authority in the coming weeks.
‘Some individuals want to be referred to as presidential candidate. Some of them were pushed by political parties to be an alternative to the well-known figure who may be outside the electoral race. Therefore, the number of presidential candidates is large,’ he explained.
The most notable presidential candidates include Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, son of the late leader Muammar Gaddafi, Khalifa Haftar, the commander of the eastern-based army, Aguila Saleh, the speaker of the parliament, and Abdul-Hamid Dbeibah, the incumbent prime minister.
The elections are part of a roadmap adopted by the UN-sponsored Libyan Political Dialogue Forum in February, with the aim to bring stability to Libya.