Magharebia (Washington DC)

31 January 2013

Libyans Review Congressional Performance

Benghazi — Residents of eastern Libya say congress is unable to improve the situation on its own and needs foreign assistance.

Nearly six months after Libyans went to the polls in an historic election for the General National Congress, residents of the country's east say progress on the economic and security fronts has been too slow.

"The performance of the General National Congress is characterised by flip-flopping and slowness in taking decisions," commented Hussein Elmsallati, a 39-year-old anchor for Libya FM Channel originally from Benghazi.

"Libya needs assistance and expertise in the field of security in the first instance, since this is one of the biggest challenges facing it at the current stage. I think also that we should co-ordinate with the United Nations in terms of consultations and programmes on national reconciliation and mechanisms of action for the committees drafting the constitution," Elmsallati added.

Benghazi resident Salah al-Ashibi, an employee at a private oil company, also suggested Libya's nascent government link up with foreign experts.

"We are lacking state management, because we still don't have an administration. Why not use British expertise, as the British are a model in management creativity. How about using the Dutch example in road construction?" he asked, adding that "each country can assist with its best know-how".

Hakeem Boudhfira from Ajdabiya commented that "the responsibilities on the shoulders of the National Congress are heavy and the legacy is greater than it can handle."

"As for neighbouring countries, Arab countries in particular should help maintain security and coordination for the protection of common borders, extradite Libyan outlaws, and not interfere in the internal affairs of Libya," Boudhfira added.

For his part, Benghazi native Ahmed al-Obeidi described the performance of the GNC thus far as "very poor", adding that Libya needed neighbours to extradite former officials.

"We also need aid from developed countries in education, health and other things, but without interfering in our internal policies," al-Obeidi said. "We want technical assistance from them so we can follow in the footsteps of developed countries. They can also help us to regularise security by providing us with advanced technology so that we can spread security in Cyrenaica."

Others, however, had more positive assessments of the transitional government.

"The GNC is moving slowly, but with good intentions, since it is the first electoral experience," 32-year-old oil worker Ahmed al-Badri said.

"The problem is still the people who do not understand democracy properly; instead they are organising sit-ins, demonstrations and negative protests. Neighbouring countries must close the borders and reinstate visas until the situation stabilises," al-Badri added.

Abdulbaset Mohamed rated the performance of the GNC as "good" but he added that foreign assistance could "help Libya gain stability in terms of security and urge companies to complete their projects. Assistance should also be in the form of an organised and sophisticated development plan."

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