Libya's Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi Runs for President

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Libya's Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi Runs for President

Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi, the son of slain longtime ruler Moammar, appeared for nearly the first time in a decade on Sunday to register as a presidential candidate for a December vote planned to help end the years of chaos since his father was toppled.


Saif al-Islam, 49, appeared in an electoral commission video in traditional brown robe and turban, and with a grey beard and glasses, signing documents at the election center in the southern town of Sebha.


Gaddafi is one of the most prominent - and controversial - figures expected to run for president, a list that also includes commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar, head of the Government of National Unity (GNU) Abdulhamid al-Dbeibeh and parliament Speaker Aguila Saleh.


However, while his name is one of the best known in Libya, and though he once played a major role in shaping policy before the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that ousted his family's regime, he has barely been seen for a decade.


His formal entry into an election whose rules are still contested by Libya's squabbling factions may also cast new questions over a contest that features candidates viewed in some regions as unacceptable.



Despite the public backing of most Libyan factions and foreign powers for elections on Dec. 24, the vote remains in doubt as rival entities bicker over the rules and schedule.


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.


While Gaddafi is likely to play on nostalgia for the era before the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that swept his father from power and ushered in a decade of chaos and violence, analysts say he may not prove to be a front runner.


Complicating his presidential ambitions, Gaddafi was tried in absentia in 2015 by a Tripoli court at which he appeared via videolink from Zintan, and which sentenced him to death for war crimes including killing protesters during the 2011 revolt.


He would likely face arrest or other dangers if he appeared publicly in the capital Tripoli. He is also wanted by the International Criminal Court.

Source: Asharq Al-Awsat