Moammar Gadhafi’s son announces candidacy for president of Libya

Seif Islam, seated at center, the son of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
Seif Islam, seated at center, the son of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, submits his candidacy papers in Sabha on Sunday.
(Associated Press)

The son of and onetime heir apparent to late Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi announced Sunday his candidacy for the country’s presidential election next month, Libya’s election agency said.

Seif Islam, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity related to the 2011 uprising, submitted his candidacy papers in the southern town of Sabha, 400 miles south of the capital of Tripoli, the High National Elections Commission said in a statement.

Gadhafi’s son was captured by fighters late in 2011, the year when a popular uprising toppled his father after more than 40 years in power. Moammar Gadhafi was later killed amid the ensuing fighting that would turn into a civil war.


In a video released by the elections office where he registered, Seif Islam said that God will decide the right path for the country’s future. He wore spectacles and a traditional Libyan robe and turban. It was the first time in years that Seif Islam had appeared in public.

Seif Islam was released in June 2017 after more than five years of detention, and in July told the New York Times in an exclusive interview that he was considering a run for the country’s top office. Libya is set to hold presidential elections on Dec. 24, after years of U.N.-led attempts to usher in a more democratic future and bring the war to an end.

Following the overthrow and killing of Gadhafi, oil-rich Libya spent most of the last decade split between rival governments — one based in the capital, Tripoli, and the other in the eastern part of the country.

The announcement came after an international conference in Paris on Friday expressed support for holding “free, fair, inclusive and credible presidential and parliamentary elections.”

The long-awaited vote still faces challenges, including unresolved issues over election laws and occasional infighting among armed groups. Other obstacles include the deep rift that remains between the country’s east and west, split for years by the war, and the presence of thousands of foreign fighters and troops.

Gadhafi had eight children, most of whom played significant roles in his regime. His son Muatassim was killed at the same time Gadhafi was captured and slain. Two other sons, Seif Arab and Khamis, were killed earlier in the uprising. Another son, Saadi Gadhafi, was released in September after more than seven years of detention in Tripoli following his extradition from neighboring Niger.