By Ahmed Elumami.
Benghazi, 10 July 2013:
The General National Congress has decided that the 60-member Constitutional Commission should be based in Beida. . . .[restrict]The decision follows an offer from the Beida Local Council earlier this year to host the Commission, once elected.
“Beida Local Council has not yet been officially informed by Congress,” Beida Local Council member Abudlhameed Abu Awad told the Libya Herald. “But we are fully ready to welcome the Commission”.
He explained that it could use the old Libyan parliament building in the town.
During the time of King Idris, who preferred the tranquility of the town to the bustle of Tripoli, Beida effectively acted as the co-capital of Libya, with government and parliament regularly moving there en bloc from Tripoli.
The parliament building was in need of maintenance works, Abu Awad added, and the decision whether to use it or one of the town’s hotels would be left to the Commission itself.
A member of the committee appointed by Congress to draft the law on the Commission, Wisam Suqair, told the Libya Herald that Beida had been selected because of the historic link. It had nothing to do with trying to satisfy public sentiment in Cyrenaica, despite resorts to the contrary.
He added that agreement had been reached on most of the articles in the planned law. However, there was still debate over reserving seats for women and ethnic groups.
In November last year, there were calls that Congress itself relocate to Beida following attacks on its Tripoli buildings but this was rejected.
The old parliament building in Tripoli, between Algeria Square and the Gazella Fountain, was demolished by Qaddafi. The site is now occupied by a café. [/restrict]