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Saif al-Islam Gaddafi to run for Libya president

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi will run for president in the next Libyan election, a campaign spokesperson said in a news conference from Tunis on Monday.

The son of late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi will seek to implement a “reform” programme that will focus on reconstruction to serve all Libyans, said Ayman Abu Ras, an official in the Libyan Popular Front party.

Gaddafi, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged crimes against humanity during the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled his father, was sentenced to death in absentia by a court in Tripoli in 2015.

The rebel group that captured him in Zintan, southwest of the capital, had refused to hand him to the authorities. He was released from prison in June 2017 after a parliament based in eastern Libya passed an amnesty law.

His whereabouts remain unknown, but Abu Ras said that Gaddafi is free inside Libya, adding that the candidate will soon address the Libyan people directly.

Towards the end of Muammar Gaddafi’s 42-year rule, Saif al-Islam was considered his unofficial heir. During the early days of the 2011 rebellion, the younger Gaddafi became the main spokesperson of his father’s government, warning in televised speeches that the country would crumble to pieces if the revolt succeeded.

The United Nations has backed Libyans to organise elections by the end of the year, but the North African country’s competing governments and factions have not agreed on an election law.

Jeffrey Feltman, UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, said earlier this year that elections would put a “peaceful and inclusive end to the transition phase”.

“Public opinion poll after public opinion poll demonstrate the strong support of the majority of Libyans from all parts of the country to be able to participate in credible elections …in this year,” Feltman was quoted as saying in January.

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