Libya – Former interior minister Fathi Bashagha, the only Libyan to publicly declare his candidacy for president in the December 24 elections, has emphasized “security and economic reform” in his campaign. The election will bring an end to a year that began badly for the 59-year-old.
As part of UN-led peace efforts, he was narrowly defeated in elections for the post of interim prime minister in February. In the same month, he survived a “well-planned” assassination attempt, which included a hail of bullets fired at his convoy on a highway near Tripoli, according to aides. Bashagha, a political heavyweight in Libya who has championed efforts to integrate the country’s numerous militias into the state, is not backing down.
In an interview with AFP in his garden in the Tripoli suburbs, he said he wants to get Libya back on its feet by reviving the crisis-hit economy. “Security and economic reform go hand in hand,” he said. “An urgent plan for economic reform and strengthening the dinar against the dollar is required, as well as encouragement for the private sector.” The elections in December are part of a UN-led effort to put an end to a decade of violence in the North African country, just over a year after a historic ceasefire between the eastern and western camps.
Following years of division and collapse of the state, a unity government took office in March with a mandate to lead Libya to presidential and parliamentary elections, a process overshadowed by disputes over the legal basis for the votes.