By George Grant
Tripoli, 22 May:
The six NTC members for Benghazi are to resign their positions to make way for the 11 . . .[restrict]NTC-nominees elected following the city’s local council elections last Saturday.
The announcement was made at a press conference called earlier today by NTC Chairman Mustafa Jalil.
In a thinly-disguised swipe at NTC members from Misrata who refused to resign their seats following local council elections in February, Jalil congratulated his colleagues from Benghazi for their decision, and called on “other cities to follow [their] example”.
Misrata is the only other city in Libya to have held local council elections this year, whereafter democratically elected nominees were put forward for seats on the NTC.
However, in answer to a question put to him by the Libya Herald, Jalil refuted the suggestion that Benghazi’s decision makes the positions of those NTC members from Misrata still refusing to give up their seats untenable.
“Under the constitution, NTC members cannot be forced to resign. The decision as to whether or not they remain in their positions is up to them”, he said. Jalil added that some NTC members from Misrata have already given up their seats voluntarily, and that negotiations are ongoing with others.
Re-emphasising his support for the decision made in Benghazi, however, Jalil also congratulated the city on holding free and fair elections. He thanked Benghazi for the unique role it played in the revolution as the birthplace of the NTC, adding that the success of the local council elections there boded well for the national elections, which he insisted would still take place as scheduled on 19 June. [/restrict]