Moammar Gadhafi’s son Seif al-Islam announces candidacy for Libyan president

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KAIRO (AP) – The son and one-time heir of the deceased Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi announced on Sunday his candidate for the country’s presidential election next month, Libyasaid the election agency.

Seif al-Islam, wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity in connection with the 2011 uprising, filed his candidacy in the southern city of Sabha, 650 kilometers (400 miles) south of the capital in Tripoli, the High National Electoral Commission said in a statement.

Gaddafithe son was captured by warriors in the city of Zintan in late 2011, the year a popular uprising, supported by NATO, his father after more than 40 years in power. Moammar Gaddafi was killed later in the ensuing battles that would turn into a civil war.

In a video shared by an election official, Seif al-Islam turned to the camera and said that God will determine the right path for the country’s future. he wore a traditional Libyan costume and turban and glasses. It was the first time in several years that Seif al-Islam appeared in public.

Seif al-Islam, who was seen as the outward-looking reformist face Gaddafis regime before the 2011 uprising, was released in June 2017 after more than five years of internment. In July he told The New York Times in an exclusive interview he considered running for the country’s highest office. His candidacy is likely to provoke controversy in the divided country.

Seif al-Islam is wanted by the ICC on charges of crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the first weeks of the 2011 uprising.

ICC spokesman Fadi El Abdallah declined to comment on Seif al-Islam’s candidacy.

“The court does not comment on political issues, because for the legal side there is a pending arrest warrant and it has not changed,” he said.

Gaddafi’s son, who has deep-rooted connections to tribes around the world Libya, is the first major presidential election to have submitted its candidacy for the country’s highest post. Also widely expected to announce their bids are powerful military commander Khalifa Hifter, parliamentary speaker Agila Saleh and former interior minister Fathi Bashaga.

The Election Bureau began the registration process for presidential and parliamentary hopefuls last week. Potential candidates have until November 22 to register to run for the country’s highest post, while parliamentary hopefuls have until December 7 to register their candidacies.

Libya will hold presidential elections on December 24, after years of UN-led attempts to usher in a more democratic future and bring the country’s war to an end. After the overthrow and killing of Gaddafi, rich in oil Libya spent most of the last decade between rival governments – one based in the capital, Tripoli, and the other in the eastern part of the country.

The announcement came after an international conference in Paris on Friday expressed support for holding “free, fair, inclusive and credible presidential and parliamentary elections” on December 24.

The long-awaited vote still faces challenges, including unresolved issues of electoral law and occasional conflicts among armed groups. Other obstacles include the deep rift that exists between the country’s east and west, divided for years by the war, and the presence of thousands of foreign soldiers and troops.

Dictator Gaddafi had eight children, most of whom played significant roles in his regime. His son Muatassim was killed at the same time as Gaddafi was captured and killed. Two other sons, Seif al-Arab and Khamis, were killed earlier in the uprising. Another son, al-Saadi Gaddafi, was released in September after more than seven years in the capital Tripoli after his extradition from neighboring Niger.

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