Gaddafi’s son to stand in Libya presidential elections
November 15, 2021 - December 24, 2021 - Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, a son of former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, has formally registered as a candidate in his country’s presidential elections due to be held on December 24.
Other potential candidates include Khalifa Haftar, the commander of eastern-based forces in the civil war; Libya’s interim Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah; and Fathi Bashagha, interior minister in the former government.
Bashagha, who enjoyed the support of Turkey, stood unsuccessfully as the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate for interim prime minister in February. However, there is speculation that Ankara intends to dump the Brotherhood and replace it with what is known locally as the “Mufti Movement.” The group is known for its hard-line stances rejecting any settlement that would involve their opponents in power.
Many Libyans feel hopeful about their future for the first time in the last six years of war. Still, figures like warlord Haftar complicate the transition by standing for the presidency.
There is a danger of widespread manipulation of the votes, particularly in Libya’s east controlled by Haftar. Even international observers have to be approved by Haftar forces.
In the east and south, Libyan society is partly tribal. Tribes support Haftar in the east and Saif al Islam Gaddafi around Sebha, where his Gaddadfa tribe have a strong base. The International Criminal Court still has an extradition request for Gaddafi for charges of war crimes.
The UN estimates that 20,000 mercenaries and foreign fighters, including some 300 Russian mercenaries from the Wagner group and others from Chad, Sudan, and Syria, are still on the ground.
Registration for presidential election candidates will be open until November 22.