Gadhafi revives vote offer

Gadhafi revives vote offer

Pressure is growing from some quarters within the alliance to find a political solution, three months into a military campaign which is costing Nato members billions of dollars, has killed civilians, and has so far failed to topple Gadhafi.

Moussa Ibrahim, a spokesman for Gadhafi’s administration, told reporters in Tripoli the government was proposing a period of national dialogue and an election overseen by the United Nations and the African Union.

“If the Libyan people decide Gadhafi should leave he will leave. If the people decide he should stay he will stay,” Ibrahim said.

Leader not leaving

But he said Gadhafi — who has run the oil-producing country since taking over in a military coup in 1969 — would not go into exile whatever happened. “Gadhafi is not leaving anywhere, he is staying in this country,” Ibrahim said.

The idea of holding an election was first raised earlier this month by one of Gadhafi’s sons, Saif al-Islam.

The proposal lost momentum when Libyan Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi Ali Al-Mahmoudi appeared to dismiss it. At the time, it was also rejected by anti-Gadhafi rebels in the east of Libya, and by Washington.

Many analysts say Gadhafi and his family have no intention of relinquishing power. Instead, they say, the Libyan leader is holding out the possibility of a deal to try to widen cracks that have been emerging in the alliance ranged against him.

The election proposal could find a more receptive audience this time around, especially after a Nato bomb landed on a house in Tripoli on June 19, killing several civilians.

After that incident, alliance-member Italy said it wanted a political settlement, and also said that the civilian casualties threaten Nato’s credibility.

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