Gaddafi's son announces his candidacy to be next president of Libya

Gaddafi's son announces his candidacy to be next president of Libya

Gaddafi’s son officially announces his candidacy to be next president of Libya six years after being sentenced to execution by court

  • Saif al-Islam Gaddafi announced his candidacy for Libya’s presidential election
  • The son of late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi is still wanted by the ICC
  • The long-awaited election this December is rife with disagreements on process

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, who is is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of crimes against humanity, has announced his candidacy for the country’s presidential election next month.

The dictator’s one-time heir apparent submitted his candidacy papers in the southern town of Sabah, Libya’s High National Elections Commission said in a statement.

Grey-bearded and wearing glasses, he appeared in an electoral commission video in traditional brown robe and turban signing documents.

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, 49, pictured right, has announced his candidacy for the country’s presidential election last month

The 49-year-old, whose candidacy is likely to be controversial, was captured by fighters late in 2011, the year his father was toppled in a popular uprising after more than 40 years in power. 

Muammar Gaddafi was later killed amid the ensuing fighting that would turn into a civil war.

The now presidential candidate was released in June 2017 after more than five years in detention.

Libya is set to hold presidential elections on December 24, after years of UN-led attempts to usher in a more democratic future and bring the war to an end.

Before his father Muammar Gaddafi’s death in 2011, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi was the presumed successor to rule Libya

The long-awaited vote still faces challenges, including unresolved issues over election laws and occasional infighting among armed groups.

Other obstacles include the deep rift that remains between the country’s east and west, split for years by the war, and the presence of thousands of foreign fighters and troops.

A major conference in Paris on Friday agreed to sanction any who disrupt or prevent the vote, but with less than six weeks to go, there is still no agreement on rules to govern who should be able to run.

Gaddafi on Euronews in 2011, the year he was captured by fighters after his father was toppled in a popular uprising after more than 40 years in power

Speaking in an interview with The New York Times this July, Gaddafi said he intends to ‘restore the lost unity’ after a decade of chaos that came in the wake of his father’s death.

Before his father’s death in 2011, Gaddafi was the presumed successor to rule Libya. 

He told the newspaper that in the decade since his father’s capture and killing, politicians have brought Libyan’s ‘nothing by misery’ and refused to apologise for the atrocities committed by the dictator’s regime.

Gaddafi was tried in absentia in 2015 by a Tripoli court at which he appeared via videolink from Zintan

Gaddafi defended his father’s record as leader and claimed most Libyans now think the government should have taken a harder stance against rebels.

He also said: ‘I’ve been away from the Libyan people for 10 years.

‘You need to come back slowly, slowly. Like a striptease. You need to play with their minds a little.’

Gaddafi was tried in absentia in 2015 by a Tripoli court at which he appeared via videolink from Zintan.

He was sentenced him to death for war crimes including killing protesters during the 2011 revolt and would likely face arrest or other dangers if he appeared publicly in the capital Tripoli. 

Eastern military commander Khalifa Haftar, Prime Minister Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah and parliament speaker Aguila Saleh are all also candidates in the upcoming election.  

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