The son of Libya’s late leader Muammar al-Gaddafi has registered as a candidate in the country’s first direct presidential election next month.
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi was once the heir apparent to his father, but his support for a brutal crackdown on protesters 10 years ago tarnished his image.
Since that 2011 uprising, Libya has been riven by conflict.
Rights groups have raised fears the vote, scheduled for 24 December, will not be free and fair.
World powers and the UN secretary-general have warned that anyone who tries to obstruct it or falsify the outcome will face sanctions.
Photos and video circulating online show Saif al-Islam Gaddafi sitting in front of a poster for the upcoming poll, signing electoral papers.
#BREAKING#VIDEO— Libya Review (@LibyaReview) November 14, 2021
Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi arrives in Sebha to register himself as a presidential candidate.https://t.co/PzK4AXb3CT#Libya pic.twitter.com/YUask5LHmV
Bearded and wearing traditional Libyan clothing, he addressed the camera and cited a verse from the Koran that translates as, “judge between us and our people in truth”.
“God always prevails in his purpose,” he also said, citing another chapter of the Muslim holy book, and adding from another section – “even if the unbelievers hate it”.
It is a very different image from the one he presented before the uprising that brought down his father in 2011.
In the aftermath of Muammar Gaddafi’s brutal end, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi was himself captured by a militia.
He was held for six years, receiving a death sentence that was later overturned.
Mr Gaddafi is still wanted on war crimes charges by the International Criminal Court but has gradually re-emerged onto the public stage, including via an interview to the New York Times from his villa in Zintan earlier this year [paywall].
‘Divisive but not a surprise’
Mr Gaddafi’s comeback has sharply divided opinion in Libya, says BBC Monitoring’s Amira Fathalla. Yet there is little surprise at his leadership bid, as he has been repeatedly touted as a contender for years.
Memories in Libya are likely still too raw for him to win the presidency, says the BBC’s Middle East editor Sebastian Usher, and his candidacy will further complicate the already fragile electoral process.
After years of civil war and rival powers operating in the east and west of the country, Libya is currently led by an interim government but remains politically unstable.
Disagreement between Libya’s political bodies and opposing factions about the election rules and the schedule have threatened to derail the presidential vote.
Other candidates in the running are the warlord Khalifa Haftar – who previously led an insurgency from his eastern base against the UN-backed government in Tripoli, plus Prime Minister Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah and parliament speaker Aguila Saleh.
- You dare not close down schools – Mahama tells Education Minister
- 2 Ghanaian students honoured for topping West Africa in 2022 WASSCE
- Goats ate seedlings planted under Green Ghana project because they were not protected – Environmentalist
- Interest rates on falling spree; government T-bills oversubscribed by 40%
- Bridget Otoo’s horrifying story of how her car was nearly snatched on Tema motorway
- No one can unseat me as Tamale South MP – Haruna Iddrisu
- Police probe Prof Frimpong Boateng’s Jubilee House ‘galamsey’ allegations
- Ghana has no system to register Mohammedan marriages – Dwomoh
- Ofori-Atta leaves for China for crucial debt restructuring negotiations
- Avoid mass gatherings, restrict your movements to safe areas – Ghana’s Mission in SA to Ghanaians
- Akufo-Addo’s promises have turned out to be scam – Asiedu Nketia
- French Embassy celebrates Francophonie week with a walk in Accra
- It is difficult to point out where the 20 million trees planted under Green Ghana are – Terungwa
- Shatta Wale, Stonebwoy to feature on Morgan Heritage’s ‘The Homeland’
- ‘Africa can offer support to the ICC’ says Dame at Justice Ministers’ Conference in London
- Pregnant woman fills potholes on Obuasi road
- Tonto steps down, Funke Akindele loses, Desmond Elliot wins – 7 celebrities in Nigeria’s 2023 election
- Rupert Murdoch set to marry for fifth time at 92
- US aid worker and French journalist kidnapped in Niger released
- Bruce Willis’s wife speaks of her grief at his dementia on his 68th birthday
- What chicken feet tell us about daily life in Egypt
- ECG mass disconnection: Dial “*226# to verify staff that come to your house – Managing Director
- Road Toll returns soon: Should e-Levy stay or go?
- Dismiss hangers-on appointees at Presidency – Asiedu Nketia tells Akufo-Addo
- There is nothing wrong with exploiting natural resources, depletion is the problem – Dr Krugu