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Gadhafi son registers to run for Libyan presidential vote

Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, the son of slain Libyan dictator Moamer Gadhafi. (Mahmud Turkia/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)
November 15, 2021

A son of ousted Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi filed papers to run in December’s presidential race, a move likely to further complicate a vote meant to cap a decade of conflict in the OPEC nation.

Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, who hadn’t been seen in public for years, registered with the electoral commission in the southwestern city of Sebha, the body’s communications director Khaled al-Manea said Sunday in a statement to Bloomberg. A video posted by Almarsad, a local news organization, purported to show him making the application.

Gadhafi, 49, whose father ruled the North African nation for four decades until his 2011 death in a NATO-backed uprising, is the first widely recognized would-be candidate to officially enter the running since registration for the Dec. 24 vote opened last week.

He is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity during the revolt. Held by a Libyan militia for six years, he was released in 2017.

The younger Gadhafi’s entry is likely to complicate the election landscape just as tensions rise between parts of the recently unified government and parliament. Other potential candidates include the interim prime minister and Khalifa Haftar, the eastern-based military leader who had led the fight against the Tripoli-based government before a cease-fire was reached last year.

Stability in Libya, which sits on Africa’s largest oil reserves, has implications for its crude output, which has often been hostage to disputes between armed factions. Current production is about 1.3 million barrels per day, the oil minister said this month, with plans to boost that in the near term.

Registrations for Libya’s presidential election close on Nov. 22, with a preliminary list of candidates to be published 48 hours after, al-Manea said. Authorities will decide on whether aspiring candidates meet the conditions and can be cleared to run in the vote.

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