Libya, Gaddafi’s son is a candidate for presidential elections

Libya, Gaddafi’s son is a candidate for presidential elections
Libya, Gaddafi’s son is a candidate for presidential elections

Whether they will take place next month remains uncertain despite the pressure of the international community reaffirmed a few days ago by the Paris Conference. But now he is sure that at Libyan presidential elections, which at the moment remain set for 24 December, a well-known and controversial figure has been nominated: Saif Al-Islam, the second-born and aborted dolphin of Rais Muammar Gaddafi, who ranks despite being still wanted by The Hague for crimes against humanity perpetrated under his father’s regime. After escaping the death sentence in his country a few years ago.

He wears the Bedouin costume and turban like his father

As he hinted in an interview in July, 49-year-old Saif showed up at an Electoral Commission office in Sebha, in the south where he would have more support: with a grizzled beard, glasses and above all a brown Bedouin costume and turban – clothes with whom his father used to appear – he signed the necessary documents by being filmed in a video. In keeping with his name which means “sword of Islam”, he pronounced Koranic verses and invoked the blessing of the officials present before returning to the shadows, where he lived for years.
Second of the eight children of the rais and the eldest son of his second wife, Safiya, Seif sided with his father at the outbreak of the 2011 Libyan civil war and became one of the two government spokesmen. Despite a request from the International Criminal Court to try him for crimes against humanity still valid, and the bloody repression of protests, he was detained but also protected in Zintan by Libyan militias who had captured him: a trial in absentia held in Tripoli ended in July 2015 with a vain sentence of death for genocide. The following year Saif was released from prison thanks to an amnesty and has since lived as a free man in a secret Libyan location, perhaps on the border with Egypt.

The nostalgic of the rais fluctuate between 50-70%

According to an analyst’s estimates, credited by Al Arabiya, the nostalgic for Gaddafi and the disappointed by the current leading politicians would be 50-70% of Libyans. A basin in which Saif could seek consensus even if there is strong resistance to his return to power due to the legacy of hatred and grudges linked to his father, especially in the circles of the influential Muslim Brotherhood in Tripolitania. For the international community, the holding of elections is essential to pacify the country, which has the most abundant oil reserves in Africa and is the port from which migrants sail to Europe, Italy in the first place. The presidential elections – the first in the history of the country – and the legislative elections, however, remain very uncertain in a context of tensions between the rival factions, based in the West and East: there are many holds to blow the round, including the fact that the electoral law has not been approved by parliament and, 40 days from the target date of December 24, there are only two candidates (that of Saif al Islam and of an illustrious unknown, the manager Abdel Hakim Bayou). General Khalifa Haftar, the strong man of the East, would be ready to take the field for weeks and to reduce the obstacles to his candidacy he suspended himself from military duties. But at least according to two well-known analysts, Wolfram Lacher of the Berlin Swp and Jalel Harchaoui of the Global Initiative, Gaddafi jr’s candidacy will only bring further uncertainty into the electoral process.

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Libya Gaddafis son candidate presidential elections

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