Could Saif al-Islam Qaddafi be Libya’s next president?

Saif al-Islam was released in June 2017 after being held by militants since 2011, but is still wanted by the International Court of Justice in The Hague for crimes against humanity.. (File photo: AFP)

As upcoming legislative and presidential elections in Libya are slated for next year, supporters of the former regime see a new opportunity for a comeback with Qaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam as president.

In preparation, various Libyan tribes loyal to the former regime inside the country and the displaced supporters of Qaddafi from outside the country are holding intensive meetings to plan the upcoming legislative and presidential elections and discuss the names of candidates for the parliament and the presidency.

"There are daily meetings between the tribal elders to agree on a final list for their candidacy in the legislative elections," said Ashraf Abdel Fattah, a member of the Supreme Council of the Libyan Tribes.

Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, son of late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, attends a hearing behind bars in a courtroom in Zintan May 25, 2014. (Reuters)

Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, son of late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, attends a hearing behind bars in a courtroom in Zintan May 25, 2014. (Reuters)

"There is a general consensus to push Saif al-Islam Qaddafi as a candidate for the presidential elections, as he is 'the most important figure able to succeed in the elections and the management of the country, especially after the United Nations opened the door to all political factions to participate in the anticipated elections'," the member added.

The UN's special envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salama, announced that the new political process would open the door to "the outcasts and the marginalized, those players who were prevented from joining the political process," referring to supporters of the regime of late president Qaddafi to take part in the restoration of peace to Libya.

The only solution to save Libya

"It is natural that supporters of the former regime are invited to participate in the elections because they represent the majority in Libya, especially after backing up Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, who is now the most important figure in Libya, and has supporters in all the Libyan regions," Abdel Fattah told Al Arabiya.

"Many see it as the only solution to save Libya from this chaotic situation and unite the ranks and eliminate terrorism," he added.

The return to power is not felt by the supporters of Qaddafi only inside Libya, outside, Ahmad Qadhaf al-Dam, the former regime leader, as well as other displaced supporters of the previous regime are leading a major move to mobilize supporters of Qaddafi to participate in the upcoming elections.

“Saif al-Islam Qaddafi has the right to exercise his role towards his people, especially after he became free by virtue of the amnesty approved by the internationally recognized parliament," he said previously in a statement to the press.

Saif al-Islam was released in June 2017 after being held by militants since 2011, but is still wanted by the International Court of Justice in The Hague for crimes against humanity.

A mobile phone picture taken by one of his guards shows Saif al-Islam Gaddafi sitting with his captors in Obari airport November 19, 2011. (File photo Reuters)

A mobile phone picture taken by one of his guards shows Saif al-Islam Gaddafi sitting with his captors in Obari airport November 19, 2011. (File photo Reuters)

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:55 - GMT 06:55
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