Gadhafi son announces candidacy for president of Libya
The son and one-time heir apparent of late Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi announced Sunday his candidacy for the country’s presidential election next month, Libya’s election agency said.
Seif al-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, 650 kilometers (400 miles) south of the capital of Tripoli, the High National Elections Commission said in a statement.
Gadhafi’s son was captured by fighters in the town of Zintan late in 2011, the year when a popular uprising, backed by the NATO, toppled his father after more than 40 years in power. Moammar Gadhafi was killed in October 2011 amid the ensuing fighting that would turn into a civil war.
In a video shared by an election official, Seif al-Islam addressed the camera, saying that God will decide the right path for the country’s future. The 49-year old, who earned a PhD at the London School of Economics, wore a traditional Libyan robe, turban and spectacles. It was the first time in years that he appeared in public.
The second-born son to the longtime dictator, he was seen as the reformist face of the Gadhaf regime before the 2011 uprising. He was released in June 2017 after more than five years of detention. This July, he told The New York Times in an exclusive interview that he was considering a run for the country’s top office. His candidacy is likely to stir controversy across the divided country.
Seif al-Islam is wanted by the ICC on charges of crimes against humanity allegedly committed in the first weeks of the 2011 uprising. ICC spokesman Fadi El Abdallah declined to comment on Seif al-Islam’s candidacy.
“The Court doesn’t comment on political issues, as for the legal side there is a pending warrant of arrest and that hasn’t changed,” he said.
Gadhafi’s son, who has deeply rooted links to tribes across Libya, is the first major presidential hopeful to submit his candidacy to run for the country’s highest post. Also widely expected to announce their bids are powerful military commander Khalifa Hifter, Parliament Speaker Agila Saleh and former Interior Minister Fathi Bashaga.
Seif al-Islam’s campaign may focus on the failure of political parties and armed groups to establish a government capable of stabilizing and uniting the fractured country since the 2011 overthrow and killing of his father. However, he is highly likely to face stiff resistance from armed groups and militias particularly in the capital, Tripoli, and the western town of Misrata.
Abdel-Rahman el-Swahili, a lawmaker from Misrata, voiced his rejection to Seif al-Islam’s candidacy, saying that Gadhafi’s son should be prosecuted, not running for president.
“Those who believe in the possibility of Libya’s returning to the era of dictatorship after all these sacrifices, are delusional,” he wrote on Facebook.
A group of elders and militia leaders in the western town of Zawiya also announced their rejection of the candidacies of Seif al-Islam and Hifter, warning about the return of civil war. They threatened in a statement to shut polling stations if the elections proceeded with the current laws.
The election agency began the registration process for presidential and parliamentary hopefuls last week. Potential candidates have until Nov. 22 to register to run for the country’s highest post, while parliamentary hopefuls have until Dec. 7 to register their candidacies.
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 country’s 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.
China and Russia are increasing their military collaboration
STOCKHOLM — Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi expressed concern Saturday about Russian and Chinese military cooperation in Asia and said the security situation in Europe could not be separated from that in the Indo-Pacific region since Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking at a meeting of European and Indo-Pacific foreign ministers in Sweden, Hayashi said Russia’s war in Ukraine had “shaken the very foundation of the international order” and must face a united response by the international community.
“Otherwise, similar challenges will arise in other regions and the existing order which has underpinned our peace and prosperity could be fundamentally overturned,” Hayashi said.
French President Emmanuel Macron Says Someone Who Refuses COVID Vaccine Is ‘Not a Citizen’
French president Macron’s desire to ‘piss off’ unvaccinated individuals triggers outrage
French President Emmanuel Macron faced significant criticism for his comments claiming that he would like to “piss off” unvaccinated individuals.
Macron spoke candidly during an interview with French newspaper Le Parisien, during which he said that he wanted to make life difficult for individuals who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine. The French “sanitary pass” has prompted a number of protests and stiff opposition while the country nears 75% full vaccination.
“I really want to piss them off, and we’ll carry on doing this – to the end,” Macron said three months ahead of a presidential election. “I won’t send [unvaccinated people] to prison, so we need to tell them, from 15 January, you will no longer be able to go to the restaurant. You will no longer be able to go for a coffee, you will no longer be able to go to the theatre. You will no longer be able to go to the cinema.”
The French Parliament heard Macron’s comments during a debate over his proposed bill to tighten restrictions for unvaccinated individuals, leading to a swift and strong uproar in response.
His opponents have labeled the comments “unworthy” of a president.
“Even if one doesn’t share their choice, they have broken none of our country’s laws,” Marine Le Pen, Macron’s chief opponent in the upcoming election, told reporters late Tuesday. “He is continuing his policy of division, of pitting the French against one another.”
She later tweeted “A president shouldn’t say that…Emmanuel Macron is unworthy of his office.”
Leftist politician Jean-Luc Melanchon described the remarks as an “astonishing confession,” according to the BBC.
But Macron’s allies have defended the comments, with Stéphane Séjourné, a member of the European Parliament, arguing on Twitter that unvaccinated individuals have “bothered” the French by “forcing the rest of the population to endure restrictions.”
Debate over Macron’s bill continue into Wednesday as opponents still seek to delay its passage. Some of his supporters claimed to have received death threats because they are backing the legislation, The New York Times reported.
Assange ‘suffers stroke in jail’ after court rules he can be extradited to America
WIKILEAKS founder Julian Assange has reportedly suffered a stroke in jail.
The 50-year-old is being held at the high security Belmarsh Prison as he battles to avoid being extradited to America following a court ruling.
Assange has reportedly been left with a drooping right eyelid, memory problems and signs of neurological damage following a mini-stroke.
It’s reported the stroke happened at the time of a High Court appearance via video link in October.
His fiancee Stella Moris said he is “struggling” with the stress of fighting extradition to a US prison.
Since the mini-stroke, Assange reportedly has had an MRI scan and is taking anti-stroke medication.
Ms Moris told the Mail: “Julian is struggling and I fear this mini-stroke could be the precursor to a more major attack. It compounds our fears about his ability to survive the longer this long legal battle goes on.
“It urgently needs to be resolved. Look at animals trapped in cages in a zoo. It cuts their life short. That’s what’s happening to Julian. The never-ending court cases are extremely stressful mentally.”