After years of Gadhafi absence….and a civil war that has killed thousands….and now with a tentative peace and the upcoming presidential elections a young son of Gadhafi has decided he wants to return to the forefront of Libya’s political scene.
The son and one-time heir apparent of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi has announced his candidacy for the country’s presidential election next month, per the AP. Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, who’s wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity, submitted his candidacy papers in the southern town of Sabha on Sunday. Gadhafi’s son was captured by fighters in the town of Zintan late in 2011, the year when a popular uprising, backed by NATO, toppled his father after more than 40 years in power. The younger Gadhafi was released in June 2017 after more than five years of detention. His father was killed in 2011 amid the fighting that would turn into a civil war.
In a video shared by an election official, Seif al-Islam Gadhafi addressed the camera, saying that God will decide the right path for the country’s future. The 49-year-old, who earned a PhD at the London School of Economics, wore a traditional Libyan robe, turban, and spectacles. It was the first time in years that he appeared in public. The second-born son to the longtime dictator, he was seen as the reformist face of the Gadhafi regime before the 2011 uprising. He’s wanted by the ICC on charges of crimes against humanity allegedly committed in the first weeks of the 2011 uprising, while his father was still in power.
Seif al-Islam’s campaign may focus on the failure of political parties and armed groups to establish a government capable of stabilizing and uniting the fractured country since the 2011 overthrow and killing of his father. However, he’s likely to face stiff resistance from armed groups and militias, particularly in the capital, Tripoli, and the western town of Misrata. Following the overthrow of Gadhafi, oil-rich Libya spent most of the last decade split between rival governments—one based in Tripoli and the other in the eastern part of the country.
If he beats Haftar, a CIA asset for decades, will the country once again return to the days of his father?
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