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Gadhafi's son says he's leaving politics

Gadhafi's son says he's leaving politics

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's son announced he will no longer be involved in politics, calling for democratic reforms and denying he would succeed his father, as many have expected.
Seif al-Islam Gadhafi addressed thousands of young Libyans in the southern city of Sabha on Wednesday in a lengthy speech broadcast on state-run television.
"I have decided not to intervene in state affairs," said the younger Gadhafi, dressed in a dark business suit. "In the past, I used to intervene (in politics) due to the absence of institutions," he added.
He gave no explanation for his decision, and in Libya's extremely opaque politics it could not immediately be determined if it will seriously be carried out. Seif al-Islam acknowledged the move could raise speculation of a rift between him and his father, but denied that was the case. There have been no public signs of any dispute between the two.
"I don't have any problem" with the elder Gadhafi, he said. "I just met with him before I came here."
The younger Gadhafi holds no official post but has grown in prominence in recent years, directing economic reforms and playing a major role in negotiations with the West that restoring Libya's ties after decades of isolation. That fueled speculation he was being groomed to take power after his 66-year-old father steps down or dies, although Seif al-Islam has denied it in the past.
Libya has been ruled without a constitution since a 1969 coup led by the elder Gadhafi, who has run Libya with an iron fist under a so-called "Jamahiriya." The word, invented by Gadhafi from an Arabic word for "the masses," claims to hand direct rule to the people, but has led to an unusual system where lines of government power are unclear and Gadhafi's word holds sway.
In his speech, Seif al-Islam called for restoring Libya's constitution and for the establishment of "a strong civil society." He described Arab nations as ruled by authoritarian regimes and called for a democratic transformation for Libya.
"The Middle East and North Africa's peoples are living in a forest of dictatorships, political systems that violate human rights despite the presence of parliaments and constitutions, but they are all fictitious," the younger Gadhafi said.
His father also often denounces other regimes in the region as dictatorial, though he has dismissed the need for major changes in the Jamahiriya system even as he backs economic reform.
In his speech, the younger Gadhafi again ruled out intentions to succeed his father.
"This is not a farm to inherit. ... Don't tell me that I am the son of Gadhafi and therefore I am going to take over power," he said.
Educated in Europe and fluent in English, German and French, Seif al-Islam heads the Gadhafi International Association for Charitable Organizations, a network concerned with issues like human rights and education. It is officially not governmental but has been a platform for drawing up ambitious plans for economic liberalization in Libya.


Updated : 2021-08-06 10:34 GMT+08:00