4:42 pm - Wednesday January 19, 3763

BREAKING News: Libyan Court orders Gaddafi’s son back into Presidential Race… arguments intensified over conduct of an election aimed at ending a decade of turmoil *Armed men stormed five election centres in western Libya, stealing ballot cards-Elections Commission *‘Saif al-Islam Gaddafi is a figurehead for Libyans still loyal to the former government of his father’-Political Analyst *BY ALIYU AHMED/Political & Judicial Foreign Correspondent, reporting LIVE from Tripoli

BREAKING News:

 Libyan Court orders Gaddafi’s son back into Presidential Race… arguments intensified over conduct of an election aimed at ending a decade of turmoil

 *Armed men stormed five election centers in western Libya, stealing ballot cards-Elections Commission

 *‘Saif al-Islam Gaddafi is a figurehead for Libyans still loyal to the former government of his father’-Political Analyst

 *BY ALIYU AHMED/Political & Judicial Foreign Correspondent, reporting LIVE from Tripoli

 HOPE rises for SAIF AL-ISLAM GADDAFI’S son in the political circle of Libya, as a court has ruled few hours ago that the heir apparent of late leader Muammar Gaddafi could run for president, his lawyer said, as arguments intensified over the conduct of an election aimed at ending a decade of turmoil.

The son of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi Saif al-Islam (R) sits with Libyan Prime Minister Baghdadi Mahmudi (not seen) as they attend a ceremony to mark the arrival of water from the Great Manmade River (GMR) in the southern Libyan city of Ghiryan, 18 August 2007. The Great Manmade River is a huge network of pipes supplying water from under the Sahara desert to various cities and population centres in Libya. AFP PHOTO/ MAHMUD TURKIA / AFP PHOTO / Mahmud TURKIA (Photo credit should read MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP via Getty Images)

Saif al-Islam appeal against disqualification for the Dec. 24 vote was delayed for days as fighters blocked off the court, one of several incidents that may foreshadow wider election unrest.

In another incident on Thursday, the elections commission said armed men had stormed five election centres in western Libya, stealing ballot cards. Analysts fear a contested vote, or one with clear violations, could derail a peace process that this year led to the formation of a unity government to bridge the rift between warring eastern and western factions.

A final list of candidates for the election has not yet been released amid chaotic appeals process after the election commission initially disqualified 25 of the 98 who registered to run for president.

Gaddafi, who was sentenced to death by a Tripoli court in absentia in 2015 for war crimes committed during the failed battle to save his father’s 40-year rule from a NATO-backed uprising, is one of several divisive candidates in the race.

He is a figurehead for Libyans still loyal to the former government of his father, whose toppling and death in 2011 heralded a decade of strife. After his lawyer announced the decision, his supporters celebrated in the streets across Sebha, witnesses said.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7K8B1AZ890

However, many other Libyans, including in the armed groups that hold the balance of power across swathes of the country, view his presence on the ballot as unacceptable after the bloody struggle to oust his father.

The blockade of the Sebha court this week by fighters allied to eastern commander Khalifa Haftar indicated the potential chaos that the planned election could unleash with armed groups backing or opposing rival candidates.

Haftar, whose Libyan National Army (LNA) controls much of eastern and southern Libya, is himself a candidate for the election. The LNA said the units allied to it had been protecting the court rather than blocking it.

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