Box of Thoughts: Saif al-Islam Gaddafi

Abdul Mohsen Salamah
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Saif al-Islam Gaddafi’s candidacy to the Libyan presidential election came as a surprise to me, despite previous reports speculating this move on his behalf.

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I thought these reports were mere speculations stemming from a certain nostalgia. I did not think it realistic that Saif al-Islam would indeed head to the Election Commission headquarters in Sabha and formally announce his candidacy.

I believe his candidacy is not final, though. He is still facing some outstanding and unresolved legal problems, including the Military Prosecution’s refusal of his candidacy and the death sentence issued against him in absentia by a Libyan court. The International Criminal Court has also issued an arrest warrant for him.

For all these reasons, I believe Saif al-Islam’s candidacy has not reached the level of certainty yet, and still falls in the context of his and his supporters’ desire to bring back the era of the leader Muammar Gaddafi.

There is a huge difference between Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya and today’s Libya, and such a comparison would surely go in favor of the former. But the problem is that Gaddafi was part of the crisis that eventually led to Libya’s current problems. He remained in power for nearly 42 years with no horizon for the end of his rule and took the path of political inheritance, bequeathing power to Saif al-Islam.

I would have wished that Saif al-Islam voluntarily chose not to run for president and leave space instead for other aspiring candidates and support whoever the Libyan people elect, to ensure a return to stability and calm.

The Gaddafi era, with all its ups and downs, has now ended. Libya needs a new leader that lays the foundation for a new state for all Libyans based on unity.

This article was originally published in, and translated from, Egyptian daily Al Ahram.

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