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Libyans Will Vote After Gadhafi Cedes Power, Opposition Official Says

A man holds a pre-Gadhafi era national flag in Benghazi, Libya, Sunday, June 5, 2011
A man holds a pre-Gadhafi era national flag in Benghazi, Libya, Sunday, June 5, 2011

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  • Clottey interview with Abdul Karim general secretary of Libya’s opposition Transitional National Council (TNC)

Peter Clottey

The general secretary of Libya’s opposition Transitional National Council (TNC) says his group will organize democratic elections within two years, after the country is liberated from what he said is Moammar Gadhafi’s dictatorial rule.

Abdul Karim also said the TNC will ensure Libya remains united by reconciling all tribal groups, and will maintain Tripoli as its capital.

“My dream is just for the election day. What Libyans decide at the polls, that is my dream, and I believe that we can do it, and we are sure we will do it,” said Karim.

His comments came after forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi hammered rebels in the west with heavy weapons, as fighting creeps toward the capital, Tripoli.

Karim said majority of Libyans support the rebels fighting Gadhafi loyalists.

“This Gadhafi brigade, how many of them [are there] compared to the six million Libyans? I mean they are a few thousand, that’s all,” said Karim.

The opposition leader added that the incessant NATO airstrikes are helping the rebels liberate and protect Libyans who, he said, have often come under attack from pro-Gadhafi forces.

Karim expressed concern about the atrocities allegedly committed by
government troops. He said the TNC wants Gadhafi to be held accountable for crimes he says were committed under the long-time ruler’s rule.

“Our decision is to present him to our local and national court [for trial], but at the same time, I believe we will never have any problems with the international court because he is wanted for other crimes,” said Karim.

But, a recent UN Human Rights Council report says both forces loyal to Gadhafi and the rebels are accused of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Karim said Libyans want to be free to choose who governs them and to be able to fully express themselves without any fear of retaliation from the Gadhafi government.

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