The battle for Gaddafi’s hometown Sirte continues to rage but Libya’s de facto rulers in the National Transitional Council (NTC) are ready to declare that the war has been won. The NTC is also set to announce the formation of a new government – with elections planned after eight months. By KHADIJA PATEL.
The political vacuum in Libya is set to be filled in the coming days with the announcement of an interim government in the post-Gaddafi era. After weeks of behind-the-scenes haggling between various factions of the Libyan opposition movement that overthrew Muammar Gaddafi, the NTC is finally ready to announce a new government.
The head of the NTC, Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, and the de facto prime minister, Mahmoud Jibril, said on Monday that they would remain in their posts only until Sirte is captured. As soon as Sirte has been won from Gaddafi loyalists, the NTC leaders will step down and allow for the creation of a new interim government that will run the country until elections can be held in eight months.
With this announcement, the NTC has effectively moved the goal posts in the Libyan war.
Originally, the NTC held that the war would not be won until Gaddafi and his aides were either arrested or assassinated. Now the NTC feels that victory in Sirte, regardless of the whereabouts of Gaddafi, signals a victory for the opposition movement. While victory in Sirte is certainly still an immense achievement for the NTC, the new criteria for victory smacks of a political compromise.
After declaring victory in the war to wrest power from Gaddafi, the current leadership is required by the NTC constitution to step down.
The formation of a government has been stymied by infighting within the NTC, leading to the announcement that it had postponed the formation of a government indefinitely. The vacuum of power however remains a dangerous threat to Libya’s stability and the formation of a government is crucial to cementing the NTC’s newly-found power.
Jibril has been seen as a major source of dissatisfaction among members who felt he was too closely related to the previous regime and was the Western choice for a Libyan leader. His resignation would bolster the chances of a new government being formed according to the NTC’s schedule, 30 days after the capture of Sirte. DM
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