Why is Libya’s presidential race so overcrowded?

It has been announced that 98 individuals, including two women, submitted their applications to contest Libya’s 24 December presidential election. The list included a militia-linked suspect, Libya’s top comedian, former and current parliamentary speakers and prime ministers, a former senior official from the Gaddafi era, a couple of businessmen and, of course, Gaddafi’s son Saif Al-Islam.

The High National Election Commission (HNEC) explained why it decided to disqualify 25 applicants, including Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, a former prime minister and the former speaker of Libya’s first elected parliament in the post-Gaddafi era. All disqualified applicants have 12 days in which to appeal.

This is the first time that the presidency is being contested openly in Libya since its independence in 1951.