By Libya Herald reporter.
Tripoli, 12 December 2016:
In one of its first steps towards again being a normal civil society, freshly liberated Sirte has a new legally-elected mayor. He is Mukhtar Al-Madani.
He was elected today by six of the town’s seven municipal councillors at a meeting in Tripoli. It had been called by the Central Committee for Municipal Council Elections (CCMCE). The election was supervised by its chairman, Otman Gajiji.
The election comes almost exactly two years after the last attempt to elect a major for the town. On 3 December 2014, while on their way to Sirte to conduct the mayoral election, CCMCE officials were intercepted and seized by gunmen, thought to be Islamists and who did to want the contest to go ahead.
Fears that Madani could be ejected in favour of a military figure if the Libyan National Army were to take over the town appear unfounded. Madani is close to Abdullah Al-Thinni, head of the Beid-based interim government, and has himself recently been living in Beida. Thinni himself appointed Madani as acting mayor of Sirte early this summer. Until now, though, that appointment was not accepted by the town’s other councillors, by the Misratan-led forces in the town or by the Tripoli-based local government ministry.
Now it is, and Madani is in the rare position of being accepted by both sides in the Libyan conflict.
Welcoming the election as good news for Sirte, UK ambassador Peter Millett said that Madani could request international help in rebuilding the town after defeat of IS.
Sirte’s municipal councillors were originally elected in May 2014.
Meanwhile, Misrata’s 166 Brigade says that is has been entrusted by the Bunyan Marsous operations room with Sirte’s security.