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Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar announces candidacy for president

A Libyan warlord who led a 14-month assault on the capital and once said the country was not ready for democracy has announced his candidacy in its first presidential elections at the end of next month.

Khalifa Haftar, the head of the self-styled Libyan National Army, which fought against its internationally recognized government in the 2014-20 civil war, declared he wanted to bring the Libyan people “glory, progress, and prosperity” as he joined a contest that also includes the son of Libya’s former dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, among its hopefuls.

Haftar submitted his candidacy papers Tuesday in the eastern city of Benghazi and announced the move in a video.

“Today, our country stands before two paths only: the path of freedom and peace, and the path of tension, absurdity, and conflicts. The Libyans alone have to choose the path,” Haftar said in a televised speech broadcast on local TV.

“I salute the initiatives presented by brotherly and friendly countries that helped push towards democratic options and urge the holding of presidential and parliamentary elections as the only way out of the crisis,” Haftar said.

“I announce my candidacy for the presidency not as a request for power or a search for a position, but rather to lead our people towards glory, progress, and prosperity,” he added.

Libya is expected to hold general elections on December 24 this year, as part of a roadmap adopted by the UN-sponsored Libyan Political Dialogue Forum with the aim to realize stability in Libya.

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