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Libyan elections commission to start registering candidates in Nov - commission head

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By Reuters

<div> <p>By Ahmed Elumami</p> <p><span class="caps">TRIPOLI</span> -Registration for candidates in Libya’s presidential and parliamentary elections should open in November, the head of the electoral commission said on Sunday.</p> <p>Elections are a key step in a U.N.-backed process to end a decade of violence by creating a new political leadership whose legitimacy is widely accepted.</p> <p>But wrangling over the constitutional basis for elections, the rules governing them and questions over their credibility have threatened to unravel the peace process in recent months.</p> <p>The first round of the presidential election is due to be held on Dec. 24. A second round, along with a parliamentary election, will then be held at a later date, said the commission head, Emad al-Sayah.</p> <p>He said the registration process should open by mid-November, after technical and logistical preparations were complete.</p> <p>But the complexities of the political patchwork resulting from divisions between eastern and western Libya mean there are still hurdles to overcome.</p> <p>Although parliament has issued a law enabling the presidential election to be held on Dec. 24, it has also issued another law saying the parliamentary election will happen separately, at a later date. Other political institutions have rejected parliament’s proposals.</p> <p>Eastern commander Khalifa Haftar paved the way to stand as president by saying in September he would step down from his military role for three months.</p> <p>Haftar heads the eastern-based Libyan National Army (<span class="caps">LNA</span>) and waged war on western factions after the country split in 2014. His 14-month offensive to take Tripoli, in the west, devastated areas of the capital but was repelled last year.</p> <p>Aides to parliament head Aguila Saleh said he had also stepped down from his position in order to run in the election. </p> <p>People close to Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, son of the late ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi and once the second most powerful man in Libya, have signalled that he also wants to compete.</p> </div>