A Libyan court has ruled that Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, who was disqualified recently from Libya's presidential race, can run again, according to his lawyer, as arguments intensified over the conduct of an election aimed at ending a decade of turmoil.
Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, son of slain dictator Moammar Gadhafi, had filed an appeal against his disqualification from the Dec. 24 elections. The appeal was delayed for days after 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 centers 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 in an effort to bridge the rift between warring eastern and western factions.
A final list of candidates for the election has not yet been released amid a chaotic appeals process after the election commission initially disqualified 25 of the 98 who registered to run for president.
Gadhafi, 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 Sabha, witnesses said.
However, many other Libyans, including 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 putschist Gen. Khalifa Haftar indicated the potential chaos that the planned election could unleash with armed groups backing or opposing rival candidates.
Haftar, whose so-called Libyan National Army (LNA) controls much of eastern and southern Libya, is also a candidate in the election. However, the LNA said the units allied to it had been protecting the court rather than blocking it.
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