Four more candidates will run in Libya’s presidential election


Published on Monday, 1 November 2021 Back to articles

During the past week another four new candidates have publicly declared they will run in the presidential elections which are still scheduled to take place on 24 December. 

  • The most prominent is Fathi Bashagha (b.1962) — former Government of National Accord (GNA) interior minister — who has made no secret of his political ambitions. During the summer he toured European capitals when he promised ‘equal rights and a fair share of state services and development’ for eastern Libya, and reportedly hired a US lobbying firm to advocate for him among US policymakers. There is significant international support for him — particularly from the US and Turkey — and he has also pushed for Security Sector Reform (SSR) and anti-corruption programmes. Bashagha was, however, also a leading frontrunner among those vying for the role of interim prime minister in late 2020, but the UN-led Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) instead voted for the former Qadhafi-era official Abdulhamid Dbeibah. 
  • Dr Fathi Hamed Ben Shatwan — the 2004-2006 Secretary of the People’s Committee for Energy, and current chairman of the National Project party’s Steering Committee — who promises that, under his presidency, Libya would become a ‘developed country.’ 
  • Ibrahim Omar Dabbashi (b.1950) – The 2013-2016 Permanent Representative of Libya to the United Nations and long-serving diplomat. In February 2011 he and other members of the UN mission defected and called on Muammar Qadhafi to resign. After the latter’s fall it was mistakenly reported that Dabbashi would be appointed foreign minister. When announcing his campaign, Dabbashi said he would focus on ‘regaining sovereignty of the state, fighting corruption and regaining trust.’
  • Hatem Mohamed Ali al-Kour who is a well-known Libyan comedic actor also put his name forward ‘In my conviction of the necessity of changing the country’s reality for the better and contributing to strengthening its democracy and political life’ and that he has always felt a connection with the Libyan people throughout his career.

These announcements follow last week’s declaration by the former Libyan ambassador to the UAE, Aref Ali Nayed, of his intention to run (see Libya Politics and Security – 25.10.21). They reflect an increasing confidence that the presidential elections will actually happen, despite a lack of a consensus around their legal framework and the fact that other anticipated candidates — including Prime Minister Abdelhamid Dbeibah, House of Representatives’ Speaker Aguila Saleh, the Libyan Arab Armed Forces (LAAF) leader Khalifa Haftar; and possibly even Saif al-Islam Qadhafi — have yet to publicly declare that they will run. It also indicates that the pool of candidates will not be limited to the ‘usual suspects’ which is a hopeful sign given that the Libyan public is looking to these elections to finally refresh, rather than recycle, the country’s post-revolution political elite.

This excerpt is taken from Libya Politics & Security, our weekly intelligence report on Libya. Click here to receive a free sample copy.

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