Gaddafi's son pushes for internationally supervised vote in Libya
Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi's son Saif Al Islam in a newspaper interview Thursday proposed the staging of internationally-supervised elections as a way to end the current conflict in Libya, DPA reported.
Gaddafi told the Milan-based Corriere della Sera that he was also certain in a victory for his father at the ballot box.
"It (elections) is the only painless way to exit from the impasse in Libya," Saif Al Islam said, referring to the four months of fighting between forces loyal to his father and rebels holding much of the country's North-East.
"Elections could be held within three months, at most before the end of the year," the 38-year-old Saif Al Islam told Corriere della Sera.
Educated in Britain, the younger Gaddafi has in the past been touted as a possible successor to his father.
In the interview he mentioned the European Union, the African Union, the United Nations and "even NATO" which has been launching air raids against Gaddafi's forces, as "acceptable" election observers.
"What is important is that we have a clean vote ... the world will then discover how popular Gaddafi still is in his country," Saif Al Islam said.
He also accused members of the rebel Beghazi-based government, which has been recognized by several Western countries including France and Italy, of being "miserable opportunists."
After serving in Gaddafi's government for years "they jumped at the last minute onto the bandwagon," of the anti-government protests which began in March, Saif Al Islam said.
However, he said that Gaddafi would accept an eventual electoral defeat.
Saif Al Islam also condemned Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi for supporting the NATO bombing campaign which was launched to enforce a UN resolution imposing a no-fly zone to prevent alleged attacks by pro-Gaddafi forces against civilians.
"Just three months before the revolt began, they (Berlusconi and Italian Foreign Minister Frattini) came to kneel and kiss the hand of Gaddafi only to pass over to the ranks of our enemies. Shame on them," Saif Al Islam told the paper.
Berlusconi during a meeting with Gaddafi last year in Rome to cement a 2008 Italy-Libya friendship accord, briefly kissed Gaddafi's hand, a gesture which drew criticism from human rights activists who have long accused the Libyan leader of repressive policies against his own people.