Former prime minister Mahmoud Jibril launched a political umbrella organization on Tuesday, drawing together like-minded political parties and associations ahead of the elections in June.
Over a thousand people from across the county attended the ‘National Forum to set up the basis for a civil democratic state’ in Tripoli’s Rixos conference hall. They came from political parties as well as non-governmental organisations. Many were there as individual citizens.
Dozens of parties and political associations have been created since the overthrow of the Qaddafi regime. Most of them have the same political objectives: democracy, freedom of speech and association, a free market but state funded healthcare, education and welfare. The only real difference is their leadership.
Almost all those at the Rixos hall, once an epicentre of the Qaddafi political system, had attended a conference the previous day at the capital’s Mehari hotel.
In his opening speech, after thanking the NTC for providing him and his committee with Rixos hall for the event, Jibril called on it to fund parties and political groups rather than have them receiving funds from abroad.
However, the main aim of the meeting, he said, was threefold: to establish agreement on a future vision of the country and a draft constitution; agreement on nominations for the future Libyan government; and a general agreement on election procedures and a law to regulate the functioning of political parties.
Some 30 parties and scores of civil society organisations as well as hundreds of individuals later signed up to these principles. Among them were the National Democratic Mainstream, the Tripoli political umbrella organisation launched at the beginning of the month by Ali Al-Lafi, the National Solidarity Party headed by former international banker Abdullah Saudi, launched last October and the National Support Group which wants a democratic state founded on free will, justice, equality and equal opportunities and is headed by Abdulmuniem Sbeta.
According to Jibril, all the parties that join will have a representative on the new body’s committee. He also called on the assembled audience to nominate five people from the west of Libya, five from the east and five from the south who could then discuss further plans with the organising committee.
He said that the main goal — getting rid of Qaddafi — had been achieved but that the real work, the building of a democratic civil state, was “just beginning”. He called on Libyans to be patient and united. That way, they could overcome “all obstacles” in building democracy.
According to officials at the event, it is planned that in the elections in June, the new organization will present candidates drawn from the various member parties, running under a joint election programme.
People had travelled from across the country to attend, and its seemed that a cross section of Libyans were there. There were young and old alike. “We’re volunteers to help,” said 18-year-old Sarah, a student at Tripoli University who along with fellow students Ranem and Maisam, had come along to the event. “We support Jibril,” she said. [/restrict]