Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Sixty-one contenders for Libya's first presidential election

Written by Frédéric Dubessy on Tuesday, November 23rd 2021 à 13:50 | Read 467 times

Libya's High Electoral Commission has yet to validate the various presidential candidates (photo: HNEC)
Libya's High Electoral Commission has yet to validate the various presidential candidates (photo: HNEC)
LIBYA. A chair for... sixty-one. Sixty-one is the number of candidates who have officially submitted, by Sunday evening 21 November 2021, a nomination file to become the first president of Libya to one of the three electoral offices, one per region, entitled to receive them: Tripoli (Tripolitania), Benghazi (Cyrenaica) and Sebha (Fezzan).

The number could still increase (Update: they were 75 Monday, November 22, 2021 at noon), since the High National Electoral Commission (HNEC) has set Monday, November 22, 2021 in the evening the deadline for filing applications. However, the HNEC said that not all of them would necessarily receive a ballot in the vote scheduled for 24 December 2021. It speaks of "preliminary and not final acceptance. The files will, among other things, be reviewed by the Attorney General, the Criminal Investigation Agency and the General Administration of Passports and Nationality to see if the candidates meet the criteria required by the new electoral law.

Things got very hectic on Sunday 21 November 2021, since the previous evening there were only thirty candidates.
Among them, many unknowns and much more internationally renowned figures. This is the case of Abdelhamid Dbeibah, interim Prime Minister, who can carry his candidacy thanks to an artifice. Currently in office, he does not meet a requirement of the electoral code: that of having left his official duties for at least three months before the election. Except that Abdelhamid Dbeibah, if he continues to dispatch current affairs as shown in his agenda, was removed on September 21, 2021 by a motion of censure (contested) from the Tobruk Parliament located in the west. It remains to be seen how the HNEC will analyse this.

Another problematic candidacy is that of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi. The second son of the former "Guide" is still wanted by the International Criminal Court for "crimes against humanity". As for Marshal Khalifa Haftar, his presence in the race is only due to a change in the electoral code issued by the eastern parliament that supports him and allowing the military to become President. 
The president of the Tobruk Parliament, Aguila Saleh Issa, the former Minister of Interior Fatih Ali Benchaga, are also in the running.

​A climate not conducive to the organisation of an election

The presidential election will take place in a country just recovering from two civil wars. The first led to the fall and assassination of Muammar Gaddafi in October 2011. The second (2014-2021) pitted the jihadists against the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA) of Marshal Khalifa Haftar, supported by the Eastern Parliament, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. Then this same NLA to the Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli set up by the international community and supported militarily by Turkey. The latter has just ended with a permanent ceasefire signed in late October 2020.

The country remains fragile and divisions between the East and the West persist. In addition, there is the presence of foreign forces which, despite numerous injunctions, notably from the UN, remain in the country. Mostly composed of the Turkish army - an agreement signed between the former government and Ankara has saved Tripoli promised to fall into the hands of Marshal Khalifa Haftar - and mercenaries of the Russian group Wagner, they are nearly 20,000 on the spot. Several cities, including Misrata, Zaouïa, Gharian, Zintan and Khoms, are opposed to the holding of the elections by closing their polling stations and/or calling for a boycott.

A climate that is not conducive to the holding of elections in a month's time.

2.83 million voters called to the polls

The vote will therefore have to be well supervised. The UN is committed to this and the participants in the International Conference for Libya (Paris, 12 November 2021) have signed a clear declaration on this subject: "We urge all Libyan actors and candidates to respect their commitments to hold elections on 24 December 2021, to publicly commit to respect the rights of their political opponents before, during and after the elections, to accept the results of free, fair and inclusive elections, and to commit to the code of conduct prepared by the HNEC."
Imad al-Sayeh, chairman of the HNEC Board of Directors, promised to "do everything to ensure that these elections are free and fair" while calling on voters to "assume their responsibilities and comply with the electoral laws."

On Sunday 21 November 2021, Luis Miguel Bueno said that the European Union had adopted a legal framework for imposing sanctions on individuals or entities wishing to obstruct or undermine the elections. The EU spokesman for the Middle East and North Africa said he was "ready to mobilise all (its) resources to accompany Libya in this complex process. He also reiterated that the resolution of the conflict can only be "political, through an inclusive Libyan-owned and -led process to restore Libya's sovereignty and territory."

On 24 December 2021, 2.83 million voters (they had to register on an online platform to get their cards) out of the country's approximately 7 million inhabitants will be able to go to the polls.

List of candidates as of 21 November 2021 evening published by the High National Elections Commission (HNEC)

  • Abdul Hakim Ali Bayou
  • Saif al-Islam Muammar Gaddafi
  • Asaad Mohsen Zhio
  • Fayyad Ayyad Hamza
  • Sanusi Abd al-Salam Al-Senussi
  • Muhammad Ahmad Al-Mazoughi
  • Abdullah Ahmad Naker
  • Fathi Hamad bin Shatwan
  • Khalifa Belqasim Haftar
  • Abd al-Hakim Daou Zamouna
  • Ali Zidan
  • Muhammad Ahmad al-Sharif
  • Muhammad Ali al-Sharif
  • Arif Ali al-Nayed
  • Ahmed Omar Maiteeq
  • Othman Abdel
  • Jalil-Abdul Salam Younes Rahiel
  • Fathi Bashagha
  • Muhammad Khaled Al-Ghaweel
  • Marwan Omeish
  • Abdul Hakim Akshim
  • Ismail Al-Shteiwi
  • Osama Khairallah Muhammad
  • Aqila Saleh
  • Dow Abdullah AbuDawiya
  • Ali Bashir Al-Zweik
  • Bashir Saleh Al-Sharqawi
  • Al-Mabrouk Muhammad AbuAmid
  • Abdul-Majid Saif Al-Nasr
  • Muhammad Al-Hadi Al-Hatwash
  • Khalifa Saleh Saeed Mohammed
  • Boussef Atwair Bousef Ali
  • Mohamed Abdel Latif Al Muntasir
  • Abdel Aziz Abdel Hamid Al Khoja
  • Abdel Hafez Abdel Hamid Kaddour
  • Mustafa Ali Al Majdoub
  • Abdel Rahim Al Mabrouk Halloum
  • Abdul-Wahhab Abu Bakr Milad
  • Muhammad Abd al-Salam al-Jadidi
  • Omar al-Hassi
  • Sharif al-Wafi
  • Othman Muhammed al-Nikaa
  • Hamad Hassan Buruweq
  • Ibrahim Oraibi
  • Adel Muhammad al-Lafi
  • Hatem al-Kour
  • Ali al-Issawi
  • Yusef Shakouna
  • Khalifa al-Ghaweel
  • Nuri Abu Sahmin
  • Khaled Shakshak
  • Mounir Sassi Khalifa
  • Anwar Al-Ashouri
  • Adel Al-Zarrouk
  • Abdul Hadi Al-Hawij
  • Mahmoud Khalifa Al-Talisi
  • Mounir Sassi Khalifa
  • Osama Abdel-Majid Talish
  • Abdel Salam Muhammad Khamis
  • Abdel Hamid Al-Dabaiba
  • Mosaddeq Habrara

In the same section
< >


About is an independent media that deals with the daily economic news of the countries bordering the Mediterranean. Economic cooperation, business news by sector (Industry, Services, Transport, Environment, Society/Institutions), thematic files, airport news, airlines and shipping companies (new destinations)... are treated and analysed by a team of journalists present in the Mediterranean basin. Subscribe to To be the first to know, with unlimited access to all articles. To receive the weekly newsletters and special newsletters sent as soon as our files are published. Automatically renewable subscription, but the reader keeps control of it or yearly subscription. For individuals or professionals...