Mayoral election set for Sirte and municipal elections for central Zawia and Bani Walid

By Houda Mzioudet and Hadi Fornaji.

Tunis, 6 December 2016:

A mayor for Sirte is to be elected on 12 December. The date has been chosen by the Central Committee for Municipal Council Elections (CCMCE) following the crushing of the so-called Islamic State (IS) in the town.

Elections for the municipal council took place just before IS took Sirte over but the councillors did not have the time to elect one of their number to be mayor.

Next Monday morning’s election will take place in Tripoli, at the local government ministry and will be supervised by Otman Gajiji, the head of the CCMCE.

One of Sirte’s elected councillors, Mukhtar Al-Madani, had already assumed the role of mayor having been appointed by the Beida-based prime minister Abdullah Al-Thinni. His position, though, is not currently accepted by other councillors, the local government ministry based in Tripoli, or by the Banyan Marsous forces now in control of the town.

Meanwhile, the Presidency Council’s acting local government minister, Bidad Gansu, has confirmed that municipal elections will shortly take place and that the ministry has allocated the necessary funding for them.

“There are three main municipalities – Bani Walid, central Zawia and Yefren that are preparing for elections”, he told the Libya Herald, noting that security problems had prevented them, particularly in Zawia where tribal clashes last month brought the town to a standstill.

Referring to eastern municipalities such as Benghazi, Kufra, Ajdabiya and several other towns where the democratically-elected mayors have been removed by Libyan National Army Chief of Staff Major General Abddul Razzaq Al-Nazhuri , Kansou “expressed his concerns” about the “militarisation of the municipalities”. There would be no dealings between his ministry and any “unelected body”.

The threat, however, is largely theoretical since all the municipalities concerned (apart from Sirte) are beyond the Tripoli ministry’s control.

In a separate move, the minister confirmed that his ministry also plans to create governorates throughout Libya. This, however, would have to await the return of stability.

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