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Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam ‘to run for Libyan presidency’

Saif al-Islam, the son of the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi who is wanted for alleged crimes against humanity, is to stand in his country’s next presidential election, it was reported on Monday.

Spokesman Basem al-Hashimi al-Soul told the Egypt Today newspaper that Saif al-Islam had the support of “major tribes” in his home country and would run on a promise to provide “security and stability”.

“Saif al-Islam will run for the upcoming presidential elections which may take place in mid-2018,” Soul was quoted as saying.

“Saif al-Islam plans to impose more security and stability in accordance with the Libyan geography and in coordination with all Libyan factions.

“He enjoys the support of major tribes in Libya, so he can run.”

The UN-backed Government of National Accord, based in Tripoli, announced last week it hoped to run presidential elections next year in an effort to push forward with the country’s national reconciliation programme.

Wanted for crimes against humanity

Islam, the second of eight Gaddafi sons, would however face significant hurdles before his nomination is cleared.

He was arrested after his father’s death in 2011 and held by the Abu Bakr al-Sadiq Brigade in Zintan until his release this June under an amnesty law passed by a rump parliament based in Tobruk, in the east of the country.

The UK-educated 44-year-old faces investigations by the International Criminal Court for his role in the repression of the 2011 revolt against his father.

He was separately sentenced to death in July 2015 by a Tripoli court, which was controlled by a now-defunct government that rivalled the Tobruk parliament.

However his support in Libya, and the fractious nature of the country post-Gaddafi, was such that the Zintan militias refused to comply with the court.

The claim of his spokesman, Soul, of tribal support is also significant. In September 2015, the self-proclaimed “Supreme Council of the Libyan Tribes” chose Saif al-Islam as the legitimate representative of the country.

This council essentially brings together those tribes who remained faithful to Gaddafi and, while it lacks institutional power, its unity is significant in a country torn between competing factions and shifting alliances.

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