Magharebia (Washington DC)

Libya: Benghazi Residents Discuss Politics

Benghazi — With Libya preparing to draft a new constitution and insecurity still rife throughout the country, residents of Benghazi are debating their ideal political solution.

Magharebia talked to a number of Libyans to get their take on the situation. Several citizens suggested returning to the 1951 constitution and a federalist system.

"Yes, we want to return to the legitimate 1951 constitution after changing the royal system to a republican system like the United States of America," commented Issa al-Oreibi. "We also demand modifying some of the articles while keeping a federal state."

On the other hand, Ahmad al-Qadi, a 28-year-old journalist and engineer from Misrata said, "Of course, we want a republican system. At present, we cannot try according to the current situation of the people. The best solution, in my opinion, is to return to the 1951 constitution with some amendments."

That was also the view of Idris Jibji, a 34-year-old reporter for al-Ahrar channel from Sabha.

"Yes, we want the 1951 constitution with some changes and amendments in some articles to keep up with the changes and development for the three states. For me, I don't have any objection unless this contradicts the concept of the modern civil state," Jibji said.

Joma Nofal, a 55-year-old activist concurred: "I demand the first Libyan constitution, but the most important thing is amendments and re-examining. I support that."

"We need a federal system with one government," said Ahmad al-Obeidi, a 27-year-old communication engineer. "This suits Libya in the next phase."

Jaber al-Obeidi said, "I prefer the return to the old system before the rule of the deceased. For sure, I am with the return of the 1951 constitution with some amendments in the ruling system only. However, people will have the freedom to choose the ruling system."

Salah al-Ghweil, a clerk in a private company, said, "There would be a day were this cloud will disperse and everything will clear up. Believe me! Yes, we need a long time, but we'll reach safety at the end. There is a wonderful harbour where our ship will anchor safely. Those who do negative things are very few."

"As we got rid of the tyrant, sooner or later, we will get rid of our tragedies for sure. As for the government and the conference, all these names are useless as long as there is people carrying weapons publicly, killing, arresting, breaking into, sabotaging and bombing," al-Ghweil added.

On the same topic, Ali Makhloof, an Arabic teacher, said, "With the fluctuations of power between the [National Forces] Alliance and the Brotherhood and their dominance on the political scene in Libya, it is most probable that these fluctuations will hinder the performance of the government and the procedures to maintain security."

On the other hand, there are people who object to the return of the old constitution, saying it is time to move on.

"It is impossible to return to the same system and constitution although it is one of the best constitutions," Osama al-Falah remarked. "This is because the royal system is the basis of that constitution. There are many systems; the majority of them are good. If we choose the royal system, there would be a problem even if we stuck to the same constitution."

Basheer al-Mohareb said, "I think that the republican system is better, but nobody understands that."

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