News24

Libya PM to address nation on federalism

2012-03-05 14:03

Tripoli - Libya's Prime Minister Abdel Rahim al-Kib is due to address the nation Monday on the issue of federalism, his office said, as aspirations for decentralisation gained momentum in the east of the country.

His address to the war-battered country comes after the interim government held an emergency session on Sunday to discuss a draft bill proposing the "principle of decentralisation" in the country.

"The law promotes the strengthening principle of decentralisation," a government statement issued late on Sunday said in reference to the gathering of senior government officials which was held in Tripoli.

Kib is expected to talk on the issue in a television broadcast, according to a statement issued by his office and transmitted to the public by mobile text messages.

The move appears to come in response to statements by tribal and political leaders in the oil-reach east hinting they will declare the region of Cyrenaica as a federal state at a meeting penciled for March 6 in Benghazi, the cradle of the uprising that overthrew dictator Muammar Gaddafi last year.

A leaked version of the movement's draft declaration received by AFP proposes an autonomous region of Cyrenaica - or Berqa in Arabic - linked to the rest of the country by a federal union.

Another purpose of the meeting is to set a date for a national referendum on the 1951 constitution, which divided Libya into three administrative regions.

The region of Cyrenaica stretches from Libya's borders with Egypt in the east to the desert city of Sirte, where Gaddafi was captured and killed on October 20.

"There is a general push in the province of Cyrenaica to return to the federal system" which divided Libya into three administrative regions, political analyst, Anis Bayira, who supports the movement told AFP.

Benghazi was the first city to revolt against Gaddafi’s 42-year-old rule sweeping eastern cities along with it in a conflict that pitted civilians turned rebel fighters against regime loyalists mobilised from the west.

The now ruling National Transitional Council, which moved its headquarters from Benghazi to Tripoli and incorporated figures from the west, is struggling to exert its authority across Libya.

Many militia comprising of former anti-Gaddafi fighters have ignored calls to come under the government's supervision.