By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 31 October 2013:
Speaking at yesterday’s press conference, Prime Minister Ali Zeidan was still hoping that the GNC would . . .[restrict]take up his alternative proposal that he be allowed to appoint the heads of the Municipal Councils.
Zeidan noted that preparations for the elections were quite advanced in a number of areas, with a number probably having their elections within the next two weeks.
However, the Prime Minister had made no secrets about his concerns that the municipal elections could become divisive and drawn out, and had pushed the GNC to allow him to appoint the municipality councils as he saw their role as part of the executive branch, the government, and not the legislative branch, the GNC.
At yesterday’s press conference, Zeidan seemed to float a compromise in order to democratize the process somewhat. Zeidan said that if his government were allowed to appoint the councils, his appointment would be based on local consultation.
He said that he would undertake that his choice of councilors would be based on local consultation after going through a process of interviewing and assessing candidates proposed by the regions.
Zeidan sees the municipal councils as an important part of his decentralization policy whereby local municipal councils are given budgets to spend on local needs, taking away the centralized and distant role of the Tripoli government.
He is also worried that the municipal councils if elected, in both the election process itself and in the execution of their duties, would turn into another (party?) political tug-of-war, as is the case within the GNC, rendering them and his government’s ability to execute policy and deliver much needed local services impotent.
It is worth noting that earlier in October, the head of the High National Election Commission (HNEC), Nuri Elabbar, had asked the GNC to postpone the municipality elections so as not to clash with the elections for the constitutional-drafting “committee of 60”. [/restrict]