Son of former Libyan ruler Gaddafi to run for president
The son former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi announced Sunday his candidacy for the North African country's presidential election next month.
Seif al-Islam submitted his candidacy papers in the southern town of Sabha, 650 kilometers (400 miles) south of the capital of Tripoli, Libya's election agency, the High National Elections Commission, said in a statement.
Gadhafi’s son is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity related to the 2011 Libya uprising,
He was captured by fighters in the town of Zintan late in 2011, the year when a popular uprising, backed by the NATO, toppled his father after more than 40 years in power.
Moammar Gadhafi was later killed amid the ensuing fighting that would turn into a civil war.
Seif al-Islam, 49, 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.
Seif al-Islam, who was seen as the reformist face of Gadhafi's regime before the 2011 uprising, was released in June 2017 after more than five years of detention.
In July he told The New York Times in an exclusive interview that he was considering a run for the country's top office. His candidacy is likely to stir controversy across the divided country.
Seif al-Islam is wanted by the ICC on charges of crimes against humanity allegedly committed in the first weeks of the 2011 uprising.
Also widely expected to announce their bids are powerful military commander Khalifa Hifter, Parliament Speaker Agila Saleh and former Interior Minister Fathi Bashaga.
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 is highly likely to face stiff resistance from armed groups and militias particularly in the capital, Tripoli, and the western town of Misrata.
Abdel-Rahman el-Swahili, a lawmaker from Misrata, voiced his rejection to Seif al-Islam's candidacy, saying that Gadhafi’s son should be prosecuted, not running for president.
“Those who believe in the possibility of Libya’s returning to the era of dictatorship after all these sacrifices, are delusional,” he wrote on Facebook.
Following the overthrow and killing of Gadhafi, oil-rich Libya spent most of the last decade spilt between rival governments — one based in the capital, Tripoli, and the other in the eastern part of the country.
Gadhafi the dictator had eight children, most of whom played significant roles in his regime. His son Muatassim was killed at the same time Gadhafi was captured and slain. Two other sons, Seif al-Arab and Khamis, were killed earlier in the uprising. Another son, al-Saadi Gadhafi, was released in September after more than seven years of detention in the capital of Tripoli following his extradition from neighboring Niger.