By Hadi Fornaji.
Tripoli 17 June 2014:
The government has confirmed that the new House of Representatives will be based in Benghazi – at least . . .[restrict]initially.
The Council of Ministers approved a request from Benghazi Local Council to site the House in the city at its meeting yesterday. According to the Prime Ministry’s website, LD 25 million has been allocated to refurbish either the downtown Tibesti hotel or the Tourist Village, located in Garyounis, as the home for the new legislature.
Candidates for election to the House have told the Libya Herald that the Tourist Village was the preferred site. Whether LD 25 million is enough to transform the elderly site to its new role remains to be seen. It requires considerable work to upgrade it.
Meanwhile, the government statement said a more permanent home for the lifetime of the House was also discussed.
A suggestion to base the House of Representatives in Benghazi was first mooted in March by the February Committee, set up by the General National Congress to make proposals on the next stage of Libya’s transition. However, although Congress took on board the Committee’s call for the creation of a replacement House of Representatives, the move to Benghazi quietly disappeared.
The government has been keen to demonstrate its support for Benghazi and the east in the face of the security in recent weeks. The Prime Minister, Abdullah Al-Thinni, headed east on 5 June saying he was doing so to deal with the security crisis in the region. He then stayed in Beida until last week running the country from there.
With the House of Representatives in Benghazi and the Constitutional Assembly in Beida, the federalists’ cry that Cyrenaica is being ignored is likely to find fewer takers. [/restrict]