Libya’s parliament speaker enters presidential race

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Libya’s parliament speaker Aguila Saleh registered Saturday to run in next month’s presidential election, joining a military strongman and the son of Moamer Kadhafi in the contest.

Libya’s first ever direct presidential poll, due on December 24, comes as the United Nations seeks to end a decade of violence in the oil-rich nation.

Saleh is the 24th candidate to sign up at the offices of the electoral commission, the HNEC, with the 77-year-old registering his details in the eastern port of Benghazi.

“I came to the HNEC office in Benghazi to submit the documents necessary for my candidacy,” said Saleh, appealing to Libyans to take part in the vote, in a speech broadcast by the Libya Tantakheb station.

Saleh is considered to be close to eastern military chief Khalifa Haftar, who registered his name in the race on Tuesday.

That move came just days after Seif al-Islam Kadhafi declared his own candidacy, a decade after his father’s death in a NATO-backed uprising.—AFP

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