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Sunday, November 14, 2021

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, candidature in elections !!!

                                             Saif al-Islam Gaddafi,    has announced his candidacy for the country's presidential election next month – and that has raised lot of furore!!

Libya  in North Africa is  bordered by the Mediterranean Sea; Egypt, Sudan, Chad, Niger, Algeria, Tunisia  and has maritime borders with Malta and Greece. The sovereign state is made of three historical regions: Tripolitania, Fezzan and Cyrenaica. With an area of almost 700,000 square miles (1.8 million km2), Libya is the fourth largest country in Africa, the second largest in the Arab World and Arab League behind Algeria and the 16th largest country in the world. Libya has the 10th-largest proven oil reserves of any country in the world.  The largest city and capital, Tripoli, is located in western Libya and is home to over three million of Libya's seven million people.

Any reference to modern Libya would incomplete with ‘Col. Gaddafi’ - Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi  (1942 2011),  revolutionary, politician and political theorist. He governed Libya as the de facto ruler and had many titles such as Revolutionary Chairman of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then as the "Brotherly Leader" of the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011. He was initially ideologically committed to Arab nationalism and Arab socialism but later ruled according to his own Third International Theory.  The despot was   captured and killed on 20 October 2011 after the Battle of Sirte. Gaddafi was found west of Sirte after his convoys were attacked by NATO aircraft. He was then captured by National Transitional Council (NTC) forces and was killed shortly afterwards.

A year and a half after Khalifa Haftar’s offensive ended, and a little over a month before a possible presidential election, Tripoli has been reborn. However, this rebirth has not lessened the Libyan capital’s endemic ills.  There is no doubt that Muammar Gaddafi – with his frizzy hair, playboy face and slightly provocative pose – is back in Tripoli. At least on shop windows. According to a bookshop in the city centre, the Guide is (re)making a fortune. Mujahid al-Bousaifi’s book La Nation de la Tente is a success.  Released this past summer, the book does not glorify the former dictator. However, its cover is unusual, as it features a close-up shot of Gaddafi at the height of his power. No militia has demanded that the book be banned. How times have changed, or maybe time is just cynical. Tripoli seems to be reliving the sweet euphoria that dominated the first months of 2012, just before the legislative elections.  

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi,  who is in the news now, is the son of late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, who is is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of crimes against humanity, and he  has announced his candidacy for the country's presidential election next month.

The dictator's one-time heir apparent submitted his candidacy papers in the southern town of Sabah, Libya’s High National Elections Commission said in a statement. Grey-bearded and wearing glasses, he appeared in an electoral commission video in traditional brown robe and turban signing documents.  The 49-year-old, whose candidacy is likely to be controversial, was captured by fighters late in 2011, the year his father was toppled in a popular uprising after more than 40 years in power.  Gaddafi was later killed amid the ensuing fighting that would turn into a civil war.

The now presidential candidate was released in June 2017 after more than five years in detention. Libya is set to hold presidential elections on December 24, after years of UN-led attempts to usher in a more democratic future and bring the war to an end. Before his father Muammar Gaddafi's death in 2011, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi was the presumed successor to rule Libya. The long-awaited vote still faces challenges, including unresolved issues over election laws and occasional infighting among armed groups. Other obstacles include the deep rift that remains between the country's east and west, split for years by the war, and the presence of thousands of foreign fighters and troops.

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. Speaking in an interview with The New York Times this July, Gaddafi said he intends to 'restore the lost unity' after a decade of chaos that came in the wake of his father's death. He told the newspaper that in the decade since his father's capture and killing, politicians have brought Libyan's 'nothing by misery' and refused to apologise for the atrocities committed by the dictator's regime.  

Gaddafi was tried in absentia in 2015 by a Tripoli court at which he appeared via videolink from Zintan. He was sentenced him to death for war crimes including killing protesters during the 2011 revolt and would likely face arrest or other dangers if he appeared publicly in the capital Tripoli.  Eastern military commander Khalifa Haftar, Prime Minister Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah and parliament speaker Aguila Saleh are all also candidates in the upcoming election. 

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
14th Nov. 2021.

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