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Opposition Figure Hopes to Lead Libya Transition

A member of the forces loyal to Libya's interim rulers flashes the victory sign as he prepares for an assault on Muammar Gadhafi's hometown Sirte September 24, 2011.
A member of the forces loyal to Libya's interim rulers flashes the victory sign as he prepares for an assault on Muammar Gadhafi's hometown Sirte September 24, 2011.

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  • Clottey interview with Hadi Shalluf, the leader of the Justice and Democracy Party of Libya

Peter Clottey

Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) is scheduled to soon announce a prime minister from four aspiring candidates.

Analysts say a top goal of the new official will be to help create a free society following the ouster of long-time leader Moammar Gadhafi.

One of the four candidates is Hadi Shalluf, the leader of the Justice and Democracy Party of Libya that opposed Mr. Gadhafi.  Shalluf says he is the best candidate to lead the country’s transition to democracy and the rule of law.

Other candidates competing for the position are current interim Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril, Abdurrahman Souhaly and Mohamed Hariry.

Shalluf said he will create an inclusive administration, which he said will be sharply different from what Libyans have been used to for the last four decades.

“I will be going immediately to different people, different organizations to create a new government,” he said.

Some analysts have expressed concern that hard-line Islamists could infiltrate the new Libya after the fall of Gadhafi. But, Shalluf says his open views make him the best candidate as prime minister.

He said as a liberal, “I am the alternative to the Muslim Brotherhood.”

He said his first action as prime minister will be to establish a 25-member body to draft a constitution within 10 days.

“I am going to create a commission to [outline] a constitution and then afterwards we will be having a referendum for people to determine whether they will say OK or not with regards to the constitution, and then we will have the election,” said Shalluf.

Shalluf, who is also an international lawyer, says Libya’s new constitution must guarantee “all of the fundamental human rights and liberty for speech, liberty for expression and individual liberty. We will be respecting all of the United Nations regulations and all the conventions.”

Meanwhile, the head of the TNC has asked members of the U.N. Security Council to lift remaining sanctions on Libya. The Security Council has already unfrozen $16 billion in Libyan assets, and the NTC hopes to gain access to more that remain locked.

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