Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, son of former Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi is reportedly eyeing Libya’s highest office, 10 years after his father was overthrown and murdered by NATO-backed rebels, triggering years of civil unrest in the oil-rich nation.
Saif has reportedly begun to reach out to Western powers and other diplomats, as he seeks to re-enter public life, the Times reported.
Once viewed as his father’s successor, Saif is now preparing to stand in Libya’s December 24 presidential elections.
He is expected to publicly announce his political ambitions in the near future, while it is still unclear whether he will be allowed to run, as a new election law currently being drafted could potentially exclude him from participating.
It would be recalled that the 48-year-old was captured and imprisoned by militants in 2011 after the fall of his father.
He was freed by his captors six years later under an amnesty agreement, and has remained in hiding since then.
Saif however still faces an arrest warrant in Libya, and is also wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) while several of his siblings remain in prison either in Libya and abroad.
Sources who spoke with the Times said the ICC warrant could be withdrawn, but that Gaddafi would likely run for office even if it were not. The paper speculated that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who was a vocal proponent of the NATO campaign in Libya, would likely oppose the idea of Gaddafi’s son running for office.
Saif made headlines in 2018, after Bloomberg reported that Russian diplomats had spoken to him via a video link shortly after he was released from prison. A family spokesperson said around that time that Gaddafi wanted to run for president.
Moscow responded to the Bloomberg report by stating that no one should be excluded from Libya’s political process, adding that it kept in touch with various groups in the country in an effort to help facilitate peace negotiations.
Libya has seen years of civil war and political turbulence following the NATO-backed intervention. It is inching towards a settlement between the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord and a separate governing body supported by military commander Khalifa Haftar, which controls the country’s east.