He announced his candidacy for Libya’s forthcoming elections

By Sami Zaptia

Aref Nayed, former Libyan ambassador to the UAE and head of the Libyan Institute for Advanced Studies, has re-launched his political movement, named Ihya Libya (Reviving Libya), to ‘‘rescue Libya from its present chaotic divisions, re-establish the rule of law and order and rebuild the country as a prosperous, democratic state’’.

More importantly, he also announced that he will be standing for Libya’s forthcoming presidential elections.

According to the movement’s press release the launch of the movement comes ‘‘as the country’s parliament, the House of Representatives, has again failed to approve plans for a constitution referendum next month and elections for a new parliament and a president in December’’.

Ihya Libya, the statement said, aims to rally Libyans from across the country – cities, towns and villages in the east, west and south, young and old, men and women, the tribes, the different communities – and get it out of its present calamitous disorder and give Libyans confidence and hope in the future.

We have been in conflict for seven years, and we have been facing destruction,” Nayed announced at a press conference in Tunis on Wednesday evening. There needed to be a new vision, one that allows Libya to move forward, he said.

In particular there needs to be a future for the country’s young people.  “We need to give hope back to young people so that they do not see the gun as the only opportunity.”

The decision to launch the movement is the result of extensive discussions with representatives from towns, tribes, with women and youth campaigners and many other activists as well as with Libyans outside the country about rebuilding hope and putting Libya back on the path to stability, security, development and economic prosperity.

The movement, Nayed explained, is built on four key principles:

  • Safety, security and rule of law;
  • Economic development and reform, including the creation of a diversified economy and economic decentralisation.
  • The wellbeing of the Libyan citizen by improving education, healthcare, training, provision for the elderly and people with special needs and other welfare rights.
  • Good governance including transparency and a clampdown on corruption.

These principles were based on all that has been good in Libya’s past. Libya has been an open country, a hospitable country and a tolerant country.  It is a diverse country and Ihya Libya welcomed that diversity, the statement added.

Nayed called on all Libyans who support these principles to join the movement. Its vision was open to all those who were interested in building the country’s future.  Supporters who wanted to be candidates for election to the House of Representatives or to municipal councils would be supported with training and organisational backing, the statement said.

Anyone who is convinced by the vision will have our full support as a candidate”, he said.

However, the statement left the most important news to the end adding in just one sentence: ‘‘He himself would be a candidate for presidential elections when they are held’’.

It will be recalled though, that the Ihya movement was initially launched – and as reported by Libya Herald at the time – back in August 2017.

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Aref Nayed launches new movement for change in Libya

Prominent Libyan political figure and former ambassador to the UAE Aref Nayed has launched a new movement to transform Libya. Named as Ihya Libya (“Reviving Libya”), its aim, he says, is to create a stable, democratic and prosperous country.

Libya needs a new way forward, a statement from Nayed says. “After years of suffering, a difficult struggle, and many lives lost, we must now address the security, economic, human development, and governance challenges our nation faces”.

The immediate objective of the movement is to concentrate on key reforms and developments needed over the next six years. These comprise what Ihya Libya calls four “pillars”:

  • peace, security and the rule of law;
  • economic development;
  • human development;
  • governance and public sector reform.

Ihya Libya had already identified a hundred changes required by 2023 but these needed to be refined into practical policies.

We must now begin the process of refining these transformation projects to turn them into implementable programmes that will bring Ihya Libya Vision 2023 into reality,” Nayed says, suggesting that it would require a new government to do this.

To be successful, initial efforts of the next government must be directed at stabilisation and reconstruction through national and local dialogue and reconciliation in parallel with pursuing priority economic, human development and public sector reforms.”

Ihya Libya Vision 2023 says that Libyans are not willing to wait another 20 or 30 years for the changes needed in the country . “Libyans want positive transformation now.” But for the moment, “security and the rule of law is lacking. Right now, economic performance is substandard. Right now, institutions that promote human development are weak. Right now, poor governance is compromising the rapidity and effectiveness of reforms.”

It highlights key problems requiring change:

  • Government entities dominate the economy with low private sector involvement
  • High dependence on the hydrocarbon sector resulting in fiscal uncertainty
  • Poor and decaying infrastructure which limits economic growth

The movement says that it intends to provide answers and build public support for them within five years.

The first phase, over the next two years, will focus on stabilisation and reconstruction through national and local dialogue and reconciliation.

The second phase, from 2020 to 2023, will then focus on sustainable growth. This will be done through private sector development, large-scale infrastructure programmes “and structural reforms to ensure an accountable, merit-based, performance-oriented public sector”.

Ihya Libya says it has already carried out “extensive consultations” throughout the country as well as in the Libyan diaspora abroad with civil society organisations, community leaders, business figures and entrepreneurs, academics and students, professional groups, women and youth associations and the media.

The next step is to create and publish a strategy for the first phase, in consultation with these groups.

Calling on Libyans to support the movement, Nayed expressed the hope that it would be at the centre of national dialogue and that future governments would accept its proposals.

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