By Ashraf Abdul-Wahab.
Tripoli, 12 February 2014:
The new Mayor of Baida, Ali Hussein Mohamed Abubakr, and the Mayor of Shahat, . . .[restrict]Idris Abdulmajeed Belhassan – the first in Libya since 1969 and the first ever to be elected – were formally sworn in office in Tripoli by the Minister of Local Government, Saleh Saeed yesterday. Members of the new Beida and Shahat municipalities, the first of the 90 to be elected so far, were also sworn in.
The ceremony was to have taken place in the presence of the Prime Minister two weeks ago, but was postponed because he was unavailable. Both mayors were elected on 11 January when their councils first met.
At the ceremony, Saeed hailed the municipal council elections as an achievement of the 17 February Revolution, saying they met the demand for an end to centralisation and all the complications that it brought to the lives of ordinary citizens.
The claim drew no comment from anyone attending the event that having it in Tripoli, well over a thousand kilometres from the two municipalities, was not the most obvious endorsement of decentralisation.
Saeed noted that some 15 municipal councils had now been elected and the final results would shortly be announced and new councillors take over. Another 40 municipalities would be elected in the next two months, he added.
The whole process is due to be finished by the end of May. [/restrict]