By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 20 December:
The newly elected municipal councillors in Zahra failed to turn up to a meeting in Tripoli . . .[restrict]today to elect the town’s first mayor.
Zahra is widely seen as the “capital” of the Warshefana district west of Tripoli which has been involved in a deadly conflict with revolutionary forces for more than a year.
In January, the area was scene of deadly clashes between revolutionaries forces and Warshafana fighters accused by the former of being criminals and Qaddafi supporters. Since the summer, the fighting has been between the same two sides except that revolutionaries are now part of Libya Dawn while the Washefana (still accused of supporting Qaddafi) are allied with Zintan and the HoR. Parts of the district, including Zahra, are currently in the hands of Libya Dawn forces.
Suggestions that the councillors were afraid of going to Tripoli because of the conflict have been rejected by the Central Committee for Municipal Council Elections (CCMCE). According to a CCMCE official, the councillors, elected in May, had agreed last night they would go to Tripoli for the meeting but cancelled today.
The Zahra election would have resulted in Libya now having 76 mayors out of the eventual 99. [/restrict]