(MENAFN - Arab News) Muammar Qaddafi's regime agreed to fund French President Nicolas Sarkozy's 2007 election campaign to the tune of 50 million euros, a news website reported yesterday, publishing what it said was documentary evidence.
The 2006 document in Arabic, which website Mediapart said was signed by Qaddafi's intelligence chief Mussa Kussa, referred to an "agreement in principle to support the campaign for the candidate for the presidential elections, Nicolas Sarkozy, for a sum equivalent to 50 million euros."
The left-wing investigative website made similar assertions on March 12, based on testimony by a former doctor of a French arms dealer alleged to have arranged the campaign donation, which Sarkozy slammed as "grotesque."
"If he had financed it, I wasn't very grateful," Sarkozy said sarcastically, in an apparent reference to the active role that France played in the NATO campaign that led to the strongman's ouster.
The latest report comes as Sarkozy trails Socialist rival Francois Hollande in opinion polls ahead of the run-off second round of presidential elections on May 6.
Separately, Human Rights Watch said yesterday that Libya must clarify the rules under which it disqualifies from public office individuals who stood by the regime of Qaddafi.
"Exclusion from public office should be based on concrete and provable claims of wrongdoing, rather than poorly defined connections with the previous government," said HRW Middle East and North Africa director Sarah Lea Whitson.
The National Transitional Council (NTC) "should amend regulations to eliminate vague and broad prohibitions on who may serve as a government official or become a candidate for election," a statement said.
HRW said current regulations bar people from holding senior government posts or running for office if they "glorified" the previous government or if they stood against the Feb. 17 revolution that overthrew Qaddafi.
"It is terribly unclear how the vetting commission will decide who can and cannot participate in the new Libya's political life," Whitson said in reference to a commission tasked with vetting senior officials and candidates.
With two months to go before a constituent assembly is elected, the commission's procedural rules have yet to be published.
The so-called Integrity and Patriotism Commission also vets senior security officials, ambassadors, heads of government institutions and companies, heads of universities and heads of unions, HRW said.
Its regulation excludes members and leaders of institutions active during Qaddafi's government, including the revolutionary guards, revolutionary committee and student associations, it added.
Those involved in crimes, including torture, and those who had commercial ties with Qaddafi's clan or stole public funds are also barred from office, the rights group said.
HRW urged the interim government to refrain from determining eligibility based solely on past or present associations, give concrete proof of wrongdoing when someone is barred from office and implement an appeals process.
"Excluding candidates for elections on vague and over broad grounds violates international standards for free and fair election," it said.