Having been absent from the public eye since the 2011 assassination of his father, Muammar Gaddafi, Saif al-Islam appeared on the political scene with fanfare. With a long beard, turban, and fluttering gloves, not unlike the outfit his father wore. He cited the Koran when announcing his candidacy for the post of President of the Republic.
“God always wins, even if the infidels hate it,” he said in a video posted against the backdrop of the start of the candidacy.
A whole new portrait of a man who holds a PhD from the London School of Economics, is a historian of an Israeli photo model and has vacationed with members of the royal family in Europe.
Captive and sentenced to death
The elections, scheduled for December 24, come after several years of political chaos in Libya. Libya also had its Arab Spring, which ended with the tyrant having to leave. The country’s old leader Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown by militia groups, with the help of NATO and Norwegian F16.
Saif al-Islam was a close supporter of his father and tried to flee the country. He was captured and imprisoned in the city of Zintan. Since 2015, he has been wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague for crimes he committed when he was the political supporter of his father. A Libyan court sentenced him to death in the same year. He was released from prison after being ousted by one of the country’s two rival governments 2017 amnesty.
One country, two rival governments
After the dictator was overthrown, several groups fought for power and now the country is fighting Two governments are vying for power. One government in Tripoli led by Abdel Hamid al-Dabaiba, and another in Tobruk led by Major General Khalifa Haftar. The former has been approved by the United Nations and receives military support from the United States and Turkey, among other countries. General Haftar receives support from Russia, Egypt and France, among other countries. The United Nations now hopes that the presidential elections will lead to a single government for the country and reduce chaos.
Committee appointed by the United Nations I have long worked to conduct these elections in a way acceptable to the militias in the country.
Read more about Libya after the fall of Gaddafi she has.
Libya is ruled by militias that fought Muammar Gaddafi, and they would never accept his son becoming the country’s leader. This is what Professor Knut Vikur says.
It does not give Saif al-Islam great chances of winning the presidential elections.
– Probably none of the candidates gets enough support and the country will be pushed into more chaos, says Vikor.
The support he enjoys is in his clan and among Libyans who longed for the time when his father, Muammar Gaddafi, ruled the country. In addition to Gaddafi, there are many other, less well-known candidates. One of the country’s most powerful men, General Khalifa Haftar, is not currently approved as a candidate. But this has been resumed.
Courts in the country reflect the political situation in Libya. They are divided by regional dividing lines.
Gaddafi was approved by a court in Sebha in the south of the country, where the Gaddafi family is the strongest. Haftar was excluded from participating in the election of a court in Benghazi, a city where many enemies live, Vikur says.
Doubts whether the elections will be fair
Human Rights Watch is concerned that the elections may be conducted in a manner that does not jeopardize those who will vote.
– Libya needs these elections to move forward, said Hanan Saleh, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch til Aljazeera.
Salah urges world leaders to pressure Libya to:
“People can vote in relative security and have the best possible chance of holding free and independent elections,” Saleh said. She was not sure whether the current Libyan authorities would be able to conduct elections without discrimination and harassment of voters and candidates.
Knut Vikur is one of many who think it is highly uncertain whether presidential elections will be held in Libya on December 24.
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