In another surprise, a son of Libya’s ex-dictator Moammar Gadhafi has launched his campaign for president.
Saif al-Islam Gadhafi (1930-2012) is an aging eccentric with close ties to terrorist groups who maintains ties to his father. He was captured and charged with crimes against humanity in The Hague in 2012 after the fall of the Gadhafi regime. Gadhafi died a year later during a rebel assault on his fortified compound in Tripoli.
Born on Aug. 14, 1962, Saif al-Islam was born in 1961 to Khadafy’s second wife, Safiya, and has an older brother, who also made headlines when he escaped from prison in July. Saif al-Islam was the subject of numerous dark domestic rumors, including allegations of drug use and even UFO sightings. The third son of Moammar Gadhafi joined his father’s regime and has kept a low profile over the years, spending much of his time in Egypt.
Saif al-Islam’s campaign will undoubtedly be tainted by memories of the brutal, 32-year reign of Moammar Gadhafi’s dictatorship. Abdelsalam, the Tripoli-based campaign office of Saif al-Islam said in a statement on Tuesday: “The campaign of Saif al-Islam was launched to unify citizens in order to support their common aspirations.”
While the capital city of Tripoli has seen no major upheavals, two major cities in the east have seen recent revolts against the ongoing regime of Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter.
“Libya’s future is not with either a party or technocrat, but it’s with a true and honest political force to serve the interests of the Libyan people and restore the country to the way it should be,” Saif al-Islam was quoted by AFP as saying in a statement on his campaign website.
Saif al-Islam’s strong support for Islamist-leaning parties makes it unlikely that he will garner much support from the military establishment, which might seem an inopportune position to stand for president.