By Libya Herald reporter.
Tripoli, 29 January 2016:
For the second time in just over a year Bani Walid has been prevented from . . .[restrict]electing a municipal council by the “government” in Tripoli, allegedly because revolutionaries there fear that people they regard as former Qaddafi supporters might be elected and control the new council.
In November 2014, the then Tripoli prime minister, Omar Al-Hassi, put a stop to elections just two days before they were to be held after revolutionaries in the town pressed him to do so. They claimed that they had a right to run the town because they had liberated it during the revolution.
This newspaper has been told that Hassi’ successor, Khalifa Ghwell, has now repeated the ban just ahead of a second attempt to run the elections. The reason is said to be the same – local revolutionaries fearing that they would lose and supposedly former Qaddafi supporters win.
According to an official at the Central Committee for Municipal Council Elections, there had been a series of negotiations with the various competing groups in Bani Walid following the first ban and all were agreed that the elections should go ahead.
It was agreed that the original list of candidates should stand, the official said, but voter registration was to reopen because in the intervening 14 months, a significant number of young people had reached voting age.
“A letter was sent by the minister of local government [in the Tripoli government], authorising the elections,” the official explained. But then, he added Ghwell sent another stopping them.
Locals felt disenfranchised without a municipal council, the official claimed, both in terms of deciding who runs the council but also in the various forums, national and international, in which Libya’s municipalities are asked to participate. For example, the official explained, locals believed Bani Walid was not invited to the municipalities round of UN-brokered Libya Dialogue because they did not have one. [/restrict]