Magharebia (Washington DC)

20 June 2014

Libya Legislature Moves to Tense Benghazi

Photo: Samia Mahgoub/UNDP
Young Libyan women proudly show their voting cards.

Benghazi — Libya's new House of Representatives will be based in Benghazi, the government confirmed this week.

The cabinet in Tripoli approved the move on Monday (June 16th). The replacement for the General National Congress (GNC) is slated to be elected on June 25th.

Despite the fact that many people in eastern Libya opposed the decision to transfer the government to Tripoli after the revolution, they are not showing a lot of interest in this move at present.

The shift comes as Benghazi witnesses a wave of slaughter and bombings targeting the army and police amid calls by takfirists to fight against Operation Dignity and its supporters.

Radicals have also levelled charges of heresy against the state and the army. This situation has led many institutions to stop their work temporarily in addition to halting classes at the University of Benghazi until next August.

"Generally the whole of Libya is unsafe and Benghazi is probably the one that suffers the most," said Ali Mahereth, a 50-year-old engineer. "The possibility of partition remains in reach... as well as the possibility of the emergence of a state."

"Ansar al-Sharia and al-Qaeda are fragile in the eastern region despite their power. I mean, the issue of finishing them off or eliminating them is a matter of time," he added. "The only trouble is of course the ideological alliance between the Muslim Brotherhood and Ansar al-Sharia."

For his part, Ali Makhlouf Aqila, a candidate for the House of Representatives in Benghazi, said that the legislature "should be located in the heart of the revolution, the most tense city, so that its legislation will be close to the pulse of the street and translate the aspirations of the Libyan citizen - provided, however, that it chooses its location carefully".

"The choice of Tibesti hotel is not a good one. I don't know on what basis it was selected. You should ask the congress," Aqila added.

Nidhal al-Mzoughi, a 35-year-old civil servant, commented that 25 million dinars for preparing the site of the new parliament was "a large amount".

"The situation is still as it was. Large amounts of money are being spent and no one asks about the fate of ordinary citizens," he told Magharebia.

Officer Adel Chamekh, 50, opined: "It is an injection to calm the eastern region and try to silence the people with this transformation."

"The decision issued by the February Commission relieved Tripoli from problems," said Sami Ali, a 30-year-old employee in Tripoli. "We are fed up with all the chaos caused by the national congress in Tripoli, and it is time to rest."

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