Saif al-Islam will be banking on the successes recorded by his father before the 2011 revolt that ended his family’s regime.
The son of late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi appeared for about the first time in 10 years on Sunday to enlist as a presidential candidate for a December vote planned to help end the years of chaos since his father was ousted and killed.
Saif al-Islam appeared in an electoral commission video in traditional brown robe and turban, with a grey beard and glasses, signing papers at the election centre in the southern town of Sebha.
The 49-year-old is one of the most notable and contentious personalities anticipated to run for presidency, a list that also includes eastern military commander Khalifa Haftar, Prime Minister Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah and parliament speaker Aguila Saleh.
His name may be one of the best known in Libya, and although he once played a crucial role in moulding the policy before the 2011 NATO-backed revolt that eroded his family’s regime, he has barely been seen for a decade. The only public sight of him that his fellow Libyans have had since he was captured during the fighting in 2011 was when he appeared via video link before a Tripoli court that sentenced him to death for war crimes.
Despite that verdict, he never left the mountainous Zintan region, beyond the writ of the Tripoli authorities, where his captors later let him go free. The election rules are still contested by Libya’s disputing factions, as it may cast new queries over the contest of candidates viewed in some regions as unacceptable.
Amid the public support of most Libyan factions and foreign powers for elections on Dec. 24, the vote remains in question as rival entities debate over the rules and schedule.
While Saif al-Islam is likely to play on nostalgia for the era before the 2011 rebellion 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.
Featured Image Source: AFP