TRIPOLI — The leadership of Libya’s eastern federalists has said that it welcomes the victory of Mahmoud Jibril’s National Forces Alliance and looks forward to “constructive dialogue” after the elections.
Ahmed Zubair, who leads the Cyrenaica Transitional Council (CTC), said late Monday that of all the party leaders, “Mahmoud Jibril is the closest to us in his openness, his line of thinking and his vision”.
The remarks followed a statement by Jibril earlier in the day when extended an invitation to dialogue with the federalists, describing them as “patriots” who “care about Libya”.
“We were very pleased when Jibril made these remarks”, said Majid Wanis, a leading federalist and son of the last prime minister before Gaddafi seized power in 1969.
“He said that our views should be listened to, that we were patriots and that we care about Libya. He said that even though federalists do not have seats on the National Conference [having boycotted the elections], he would be glad to open dialogue with us and to ensure our views are represented”.
The move by Jibril is the latest sign that he intends to use the overwhelming victory secured by his party to try and bring together Libya’s disparate political factions as opposed to pushing through unilateral agendas.
On Sunday evening, he extended an invitation to other parties to join a “grand coalition” within the Conference, although it remains to be seen how many will take him up on the offer.
Making peace with the federalists will be vital for Jibril if he is to succeed in bring much needed stability to Libya. In the run-up to the elections, tensions boiled over in the east with anti-election demonstrators burning ballot papers, closing oil refineries and even killing a young volunteer with the elections commission.
The CTC has condemned this violence, and insisted that its members were not responsible. “Those people who did this are thugs”, said Wanis. “They were just protesting about seat distribution on the Conference; they are not federalists. Our agenda is much bigger than that. “I was shouting at them not to hurt anyone, that it shouldn’t happen this way. We actually withdrew our members to their homes as a result.”
Speaking earlier, the NFA’s general secretary, Faisal Krekshi, confirmed that Jibril had opened a dialogue with the CTC leadership. “Dr Jibril is personally in contact with them and has received a very positive response.
The most important thing is to create and atmosphere of trust, and I am convinced they believe in the sincerity of our programme”.
Yesterday evening, rumors began circulating on the social networking site Facebook, that the CTC would dissolve itself after the elections because “the people (had) spoken”. — www.libyaherald.com