Saif al-Islam Gadhafi

The son and onetime heir apparent of late Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi on Sunday announced his candidacy for the country’s presidential election next month, Libya’s election agency said.

The agency said in a statement that Seif al-Islam submitted his candidacy papers in the southern town of Sabah.

Gadhafi’s son was captured by fighters late in 2011, the year when a popular uprising removed his father after more than 40 years in power. Moammar Gadhafi was later killed amid the ensuing fighting that would turn into a civil war.

Clad in a traditional Libyan robe, turban and spectacles, Saif in a video released by the elections office where he registered, said God will decide the right path for the country’s future.

Saif al-Islam was released in June 2017 after more than five years of detention. In July of this year, he told The New York Times, in an exclusive interview, that he was considering a run for the country’s top office. Libya is set to hold presidential elections on Dec. 24, after years of United Nations-led attempts to usher in a more democratic future and bring the war to an end.

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.

Gadhafi the dictator had eight children, most of whom played significant roles in his regime. His son Muatassim was killed at the same time Gadhafi was captured and slain. Two other sons, Saif al-Arab and Khamis, were killed earlier in the uprising. Another son, al-Saadi Gadhafi, was released in September after more than seven years of detention in the capital of Tripoli following his extradition from neighboring Niger.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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