08/09/2012, 00.00
LIBYA

Tripoli, power handed over to new Constituent Assembly amid insecurity and economic crisis

The handover from Mustafa Abdul Jalil, former leader of the NTC to Mohammed Salim Ali, the senior member of the Assembly, took place last night in Martyrs' Square in Tripoli. The country is the victim of an unprecedented economic crisis. The people ask the West to return funds the fruit of Gaddafi investments. Oil revenues are still in the hands of banks in Qatar.

Tripoli (AsiaNews) - The Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) has handed power over to the new Assembly elected on 7 July in the first democratic vote after 40 years of the Muammar Gaddafi regime. The symbolic handover from Mustafa Abdul Jalil, former NTC leader and Mohammed Salim Ali, the senior member of the Assembly took place last night in Martyrs' Square in Tripoli (formerly green square) in front of thousands of people. In addition to celebrating the change of government, the Libyans have also recalled the liberation of Tripoli on 8 August 2011, with torches and candles as a sign of reconciliation. The challenges facing the new moderate-led Assembly will be: restoring security, the drafting of a new Constitution and recovering Libyan money frozen by the foreign banks, necessary to resolve the grave economic crisis.

Asia News sources report that the country is still far from a full reconciliation. The rebels have an armed militia parallel to the army, made up largely of soldiers who fought for the Rais. "The military are afraid of their revenge - they explain - and many do not work. The same goes for the police, who no longer have the authority to enforce order. Everything is still in total anarchy. The targeted killing of characters linked to the regime is still preferred to a fair trial or to a true reconciliation. "

However, democratic elections have brought a wave of confidence. The population looks with hope to the new democratically elected leaders, but also nourishes many misgivings and doubts about the economic future of the country, struggling to restart one year after the fall of the regime.

"The economic situation - explain the sources - is disastrous. The only ones who have a salary are government employees, but there are delays in payments for them as well. Rent, fuel and essential goods have almost tripled. Elderly and sick people do not have access to medical care because they are too expensive and hospitals have not yet been reactivated. "

Another problem is the exodus of foreign companies who came to Libya under the regime, charged with modernizing the country in collaboration with local companies. To date, most foreign companies are struggling to return, but sources say the problem is not just about security. They are demanding that the Libyan government pay for the contracts signed by Gaddafi and rebuild construction sites and facilities destroyed by NATO bombs and the fighting between army and rebels. But no institution has the money to meet these conditions. There is not enough liquidity for rebuilding and to restart companies.

The money derived from oil plants, which at the time the regime reinvested in the local economy, is now diverted to an account of the Qatar National Bank payable to the rebels in Benghazi. This account was activated 27 March 2011, a month after the outbreak of the riots. The same fate happened to deposits held by foreign banks in different States: United States, Great Britain, France, Germany and Italy. The amounts involved are huge. According to an estimate of the German Government, the Bundesbank alone has a surplus of 1.96 billion Euros. The rest of the money is distributed among nearly 200 activated accounts in 13 financial institutions for an indefinite amount. The deposits are registered in the name of the Libyan Central Bank, others to the Libyan Foreign Investment, and others to the Libyan Investment Authority. According to experts, the total amount of funds is around 100 trillion dollars.

The NTC leaders have stalled on this topic until now, claiming that the country was still too insecure and the money was in danger of falling into the wrong hands. With the new government the people hope that the funds will be reinvested in national banks within at least a year, but there are no leaders who are capable of dealing with foreign economic powers.

"In Tripoli and other Libyan cities - our sources conclude - many people are ready to take up arms if the economic situation remains this way. There is a risk of a new revolution against those states that have contributed to the fall of the regime. A joke is doing the rounds in the capital " UN and NATO are making us pay the price for the bombs used to kill Gaddafi'. " (SC)

 

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