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Libya: Gaddafi’s son to announce 2018 election bid

Former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's son, Saif Al-Islam [NRM E-Club Nakawa/Facebook]
Former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's son, Saif Al-Islam [NRM E-Club Nakawa/Facebook]

The son of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi will reportedly announce plans to run in the country’s presidential elections in 2018, according to a family spokesman.

Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, the late leader’s second son, announced his plans for a political comeback earlier this year after he was freed from detention following his role in suppressing the revolution against his father in 2011.

For loyalists, Gaddafi remains a key figure who can help reconcile the country’s rival factions by outlining a few procedures to help the country recover, which he hopes the UN will back.

Speaking to Egypt Today, family spokesperson Basem Al-Hashimi Al-Soul said: “Saif Al-Islam plans to impose more security and stability in accordance with the Libyan geography and in coordination with all Libyan factions.”

Saif was initially convicted of war crimes and sentenced to death in 2015 whilst in detention but was released from prison in June six years after an uprising in 2011 that ousted and killed his father.

Libya has been in turmoil since Gaddafi was ousted in 2011 and has been the scene of fighting between militias and rival political authorities as well as smuggling networks that have sent hundreds of thousands of migrants across the Mediterranean to Europe and many to their death.

Read: UN envoy says Gaddafi’s son can stand as election candidate

Presidential elections are expected to be held in mid-2018 with both Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj and military strongman Khalifa Haftar likely to take part.

In a televised address yesterday, Haftar strongly hinted that he might step in to fill the power void in the country but did not explicitly say if he would run in presidential elections next year or step in before that.

Haftar, leading the so-called National Libyan Army, has been fighting Islamic militants in the east and occasionally threatening to march on the rest of the country. He is backed by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

The United Nations is backing the voter registration process and the UN Libya mission has previously said it hopes elections can be held by the end of next year at the latest but has acknowledged that due to the complex security, political and legislative challenges in the country, organising a vote will prove difficult.

Libya last held elections in 2014 but the results were disputed and divisions deepened.

Meanwhile, the foreign ministers of Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria met in Tunisia on Saturday to discuss security and political developments in Libya and reiterated their support for a solution to the crisis which they have advocated for over the years.

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