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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 political reforms and denying he would succeed his father, as many have expected.
Seif al-Islam Gaddhafi 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. He 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, Seif al-Islam said in a speech Wednesday to thousands of young Libyans in the southern city of Sabha. "I just met with him before I came here."
"I have decided not to intervene in state affairs," he said in the speech, broadcast on state TV. "In the past, I used to intervene (in politics) due to the absence of institutions."
Seif al-Islam holds no official post but has grown in prominence in recent years, directing economic reforms and playing a major role in negotiations that restored Libya's ties with the West 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.
The elder Gadhafi has ruled Libya unquestioned since coming to power in a 1969 coup. He created a so-called "Jamahiriya" _ an Arabic term he invented meaning approximately "rule of the masses" _ that claims to hand direct rule to the people, but has led to an unusual system where lines of government power are unclear, there is no constitution or opposition, and Gadhafi's word is law.
In his speech, Seif al-Islam, dressed in a dark business suit, called for political reforms to better regulate Libya's system by rule of law, guaranteeing democracy, an independent press and human rights, "without harming the Jamahiriya system."
The elder Gahdafi has backed economic reforms but has appeared reluctant toward any major political change. But Seif al-Islam's mention of the meeting with his father, and the airing of the speech on state TV, suggested his comments were condoned by his father.
"We need to work on something that we could perhaps call a constitution, to move forward the Jamahiriya era," Seif al-Islam said. He suggested this was already happening, saying the government was working on "a set of laws" and an "administrative framework" that would make the Jamahiriya a "unique example" to other nations.
In his speech, the younger Gadhafi again ruled out intentions for succession, saying his father's role was enshrined in the Libyan system but cannot be passed down.
"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 Libya's economic liberalization program.


Updated : 2021-05-07 19:27 GMT+08:00