By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 14 September 2013:
Prime Minister Ali Zeidan indicated that he was ready to make a U-turn on his decision to convert the old King’s palace into a new HQ for the Supreme Judicial Council.
Speaking at Wednesday’s press conference in response to a question from the media, Zeidan explained that both his government and the GNC had agreed to allow the Supreme Judicial Council to use the old King’s palace as their new HQ.
However, he admitted that the Ministry of Culture had objected to this decision in view of the fact that they had spent LD20 million converting the palace into a museum.
Zeidan admitted that there are split views on the subject with some wanting a headquarter for the Supreme Judicial Council, seeing this as an important branch in society, whilst others wanted to use the palace as a cultural centre.
The Prime Minister indicated that he was not fixed in his view on the subject saying that he seeks what is the best for Libyans. “We will not hesitate to reverse our decision if we are wrong. We will try to find a compromise solution”, he concluded.
The decision, publicised in mid August, had attracted demonstrations in front of the palace on the 26th August. The demonstrators said that there had been threats by government officials to prosecute anyone who tried to block the move.
The protestors had claimed that the Attorney General’s Office had said that anyone who did not comply with the handover or tried to prevent it would be held criminally liable under the law.
They had told the Libya Herald that they would not be intimidated. The palace, they claimed, had been gifted to the people of Tripoli to be used as a museum of Libyan history. It did not belong to the government, they stated, insisting that they would continue to protest until the plan was dropped. [/restrict]