Saif al-Islam Gadhafi announces presidential bid

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Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, son of the former Libyan leader Muammar, has announced his candidacy for the presidency.

“I declare myself a candidate for the coming presidential elections,” Gadhafi, in a speech to thousands of supporters in the eastern city of Benghazi, said.

His father, Muammar, the former ruler of Libya, was killed in 2011 after being captured in a campaign led by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s opponents.

The elder Gadhafi’s last words had been: “Killing me doesn’t suit anyone. I want to go and see God.”

At the time, Saif al-Islam was wanted for war crimes.

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A native of the eastern city, Gadhafi was once seen as the heir apparent to his father.

But in the years following his father’s death in the city, his influence waned, and in 2015 he left the country to a life in exile in Europe.

Gadhafi said his decision to seek public office was “not to please anyone” but out of his conviction that he could achieve greater success, through ordinary people’s support, in the run-up to the presidential election next June.

A number of politicians are seeking the presidency, including Fayez al-Sarraj, who was appointed prime minister in 2015, and Khalid al-Bakhfali, who is running as an independent candidate.

“My life is a gift to Libya, and this gift has come from my father,” Gadhafi said, adding: “I have decided to run for the president for the sake of freedom.”

Following four decades in power, Muammar Gaddafi is revered by some and seen as hated by others.

His death left Libya in chaos, with rival powers vying for control, and the country has been mired in crises ever since.

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