(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
As Libyan soldiers continue to clear Sirte of mines and explosives, the coastal city begins to take steps towards establishing a sense of normalcy.
An initial step has been taken with the election of a mayor for the recently liberated city. The new mayor for Sirte is Mukhtar Al-Madani.
Al-Madani was elected on Monday by Sirte’s municipal council. The council, which is known as the Central Committee for Municipal Council Elections (CCMCE), held the election in the Libyan capital, Tripoli.
Otman Gajiji, the CCMCE’s chairman supervised the Sirte mayoral elections.
It has been two years since the coastal city’s last attempt to elect a mayor. The CCMCE officials were on route to Sirte on December 3, 2014 to run the city’s elections but were forcibly stopped by militiamen who did not want the elections to take place.
There were some speculations that the self imposed “Libyan National Army” headed by renegade General Khalifa Haftar would oust Al-Madani and replace him with a military figure instead. However, there appears to be no bases for these claims as Al-Madani has a good relationship with Abdullah Al-Thinni, a key political figure in eastern Libya.
In fact, local media reports that Al-Thinni had appointed Al-Madani to be Sirte’s acting mayor this past summer.
Al-Madani’s appointment has yet to be approved by city councilors in Sirte or the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) and there is no word about whether or not the Misrata-led forces, who fought for the liberation of Sirte, would welcome the elected member.