Libya’s interim leaders under fire over governance

Reuters BENGHAZI, Libya, Sept 10 (Reuters) – Hundreds of people have marched in Benghazi calling for a shake-up of Libya’s new leadership while nascent political groups have challenged the country’s interim rulers in a memorandum, saying their governance plan does not meet the people’s demands.

The Benghazi residents marched from a charred compound of former leader Muammar Gaddafi on Friday, singing “the first martyrs were from Benghazi” and criticising what they called “climbers” and “opportunists” in the new leadership.

“Some of the executive committee are blood-suckers and thieves and we keep seeing them on TV. They should be in court,” said Shukri, a middle-aged auditor, referring to the country’s cabinet, which has been officially dissolved but in practice still exists.

The memorandum, signed by 56 political organisations, mostly from eastern parts of the country, highlights the political divisions emerging over Libya’s future just two weeks after Gaddafi’s ouster.

The memorandum says the ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) plan contains contradictions and should not be used as the road map for governance in a post-Gaddafi era.

Under the existing plan, the NTC would resign and leave the country to two more consecutive interim governments for the transitional period set to last for 18 months from Libya’s official liberation from Gaddafi’s rule.

The signatories of the memorandum instead support continuity of the political process with one interim government ruling until the first election.

“This (constitutional) declaration does not express the desires of the street nor the wishes of the liberal people,” the memorandum, seen by Reuters, said.

NTC vice-chairman and spokesman Abdel Hafiz Ghoga confirmed the government had received the document.

He said the NTC could not consider it until the last pro-Gaddafi bastions are brought under its control. Anti-Gaddafi fighters advanced on these holdout towns on Friday.

The opposition to the NTC’s plan carries weight because it originates mostly from Benghazi, the eastern city which has been credited with spearheading the military campaign against Gaddafi.

It has also been under the control of anti-Gaddafi forces for months.

The Benghazi protesters carried banners listing 11 “Nos”, voicing discontent on a range of topics from centralisation in Tripoli at the expense of Benghazi to the political prominence of members of the old regime, raising the thorny question of how to integrate former members of Gaddafi’s government.

“I say no to climbers…they are climbing on the backs of our rebels. We need new faces,” said Novra, a young woman pointing to a handwritten placard, whose words she said were aimed at the head of Libya’s executive committee Mahmoud Jibril, who once ran the state economic think-tank under Gaddafi.

Some protesters also said they wanted to protest the NTC’s governance plan, and echoed the demands of the memorandum.

Nasser Ahdash, leader of the National Forum, a political group which signed the memorandum and helped organise the protests, pointed excitedly at the crowd, shouting over their chants and sirens.

“We wanted to make a hassle for the NTC and we think we have achieved this.”

Source: Reuters

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