By Umar Khan.
Tripoli, 28 May:
The press launch of The Nation Party is to take place on Saturday, 2 June, in a . . .[restrict]hotel in Tripoli. The prime aim will be to stem misinformation being circulated about the party as well as to bring it some media attention. It will, however, be one of two launches. The party plans another event to start their election campaign, according to the party coordinator Mohammed Ghula.
“We will invite many different people and dignitaries for the initial event which will be a press conference followed by a reception. But we will hold another two events – one to start the election campaign and the other to mark the end of the campaign,” said Ghula.
When asked about the party’s preparations for the upcoming election, he said “the party is gaining popularity every day. We have established offices in more than 25 towns and the response from the ordinary people has been very encouraging”.
Ghula was very confident about the chances of The Nation Party in the upcoming election, saying, “We have submitted 16 lists with 54 as the total number of candidates and we are hopeful that we’ll be able to win 70 percent of the seats we are contesting.”
When asked if any of the independent candidates had shown any interest in joining the party, he said “There are many people who have asked to run independently and their future association with the party will depend on their election campaigns. If the campaigns are close to our party policy, then we have no reservations at all because we have to respect the decision of the people.”
Ghula confirmed that there had been negotiations with many different political groups about forming an alliance in the National Congress but declined to reveal more details and said it was too early to comment.
When asked about other prominent personalities in The Nation Party, he said, “We have quite a few big names in our party but the media is not interested in them. They only want to talk to the established people and don’t give due attention to people who have actually done a lot for the country, not only during the revolution but even before that.”
Ghula also said that the party was planning the campaign carefully so that all candidates received equal coverage. “It’s party policy that there should be no groups in the party; we are trying to make sure that all candidates get sufficient and equal coverage.”
Referring to some mombers who quit he says that “the only reason personalities such as Ali Zidan and Mansour Saif Al-Nasar left the party is that we don’t allow any groups within the party and they wanted to stay in the party as a tribal group,” continued Ghula, “We are sticking to the principles and ordinary people appreciate this.”
“Abdul-Hakim Belhaj is just a member of the party like all other members and we have not yet elected the party’s leadership,” said Ghula when speaking about the role of the former head of the Tripoli Military Council, Abdul Hakim Belhaj, in the party. “He is a known and respectable face and fought against Qaddafi from 1980. He certainly is an asset.”
Belhaj was recently reported as resigning as the head of the Tripoli Military Council to focus on the party and prepare for his campaign. There were also reports that he was planning to form his own separate party.
Belhaj himself confirmed to Libya Herald that he is running for the Suq Al-Juma seat in Tripoli and that he would resign as soon as the party was ready to move into the next phase of the electoral campaign.
Umar Khan can be found at twitter.com/umarnkhan [/restrict]