Libya former interior minister registers presidential bid

Libya former interior minister registers presidential bid
2 min read
18 November, 2021
Libya's influential former interior minister Fathi Bashagha has registered to run in presidential elections due to take place on December 24, following similar bids by warlord Khalifa Haftar and parliament speaker Aguila Saleh
Fathi Bashagha registered his candidacy for Libya's forthcoming presidential elections [Getty]

Libya's former interior minister Fathi Bashagha on Thursday registered to run in a presidential election set for December 24.

"I, Fathi Bashagha, put myself forward as a candidate in the presidential election," he said after lodging his application at an electoral commission office in Tripoli.

Bashagha's move follows similar announcements by two controversial figures from the east of the war-torn country, warlord Khalifa Haftar and parliament speaker Aguila Saleh - as well as by Saif al-Islam Gaddafi - the son of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Bashagha, a 59-year-old former fighter pilot who had publicly announced he would run months before registrations opened, has put "security and economic reform" at the heart of his pitch.

He gained national prominence as interior minister from 2018 to 2021, leading a campaign to reduce the influence of Libya's powerful militias and integrate them into the state.

He survived an assassination attempt near Tripoli days before leaving the post.

In an interview with AFP in October, he stressed that "security goes hand in hand with economic reform".

He was beaten in a February vote to head up an interim government, with Abdulhamid Dbeibah taking the job.

The North African country's first ever direct presidential poll aims to cap a United Nations-led peace process following a landmark ceasefire last year, drawing a line under years of violence.

But the path to the ballot box has been lined with disputes over the constitutional basis for the polls and the powers to be given to whoever wins.