Gaddafi's son hits out at govt

2010-09-30 10:25

Shanghai - A son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi who is seen as a potential successor to his father accused Libya's government of ineptitude on Wednesday, highlighting splits within the oil exporter's ruling elite.

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi leads a reformist camp in Libya which is locked in a struggle for influence with an old guard including senior figures within his father's own entourage.

He attacked the government after visiting the Libyan pavilion at the World Expo, an international exhibition, in the Chinese city of Shanghai.

Saif al-Islam, who holds no official post, said he personally oversaw Libya's display at the Expo because the government failed to take sufficient interest.

"The Libyan government did not even bother to send a junior employee to attend Libya's day at the exhibition," he told reporters. "That shows that there is no state in Libya."

"It is me who arranged support for Libya's participation in the Shanghai exhibition because the Libyan state failed to give enough backing for the country's participation."

"Libya's participation in the Shanghai International Exhibition is the weakest and the worst participation."

Libya, home to Africa's largest proven oil reserves, has been led by Muammar Gaddafi for more than 40 years, longer than any other living leader on the continent.

Saif al-Islam played a crucial role in negotiating the end of international sanctions on Libya after the country renounced banned weapons programmes, and since then he has been lobbying for the country to modernise.

Many analysts say he is the most likely candidate to be Libya's next leader, but that to secure power he must first tackle conservatives in the government, military and intelligence services.