With Libya's new interim government less than a month old, challenges are adding up for the National Transitional Council (NTC). From disarmament and reconstruction to building state institutions, the nation's aspiring democrats have an enormous task ahead. Magharebia sat down with NTC representative Intissar al-Akili in Benghazi to ask her what the government plans to tackle first and where Libya goes from here.
Magharebia: What are the priorities of the new government?
Intissar Al-Akili: The first priority is the security situation until we start the maturation stage, and it is necessary to attend to these files at the start.
Organisation will now begin and building a national army and the army structure, and either the security battalions within the cities will be dealt with or the military battalions that were on the fronts that fought and achieved a great victory, whether they join under the banner of the national army or join under the banner of national security.
At the same time, we do not forget that many of those enlisted in the battalions are teachers, lawyers, doctors, engineers and journalists from all segments of society, so do not forget that it creates difficulty now that we are a modern state vested with everything.
Magharebia: As the interim government goes forward, what parts of the old regime does the NTC plan to preserve?
Al-Akili: There are not many constants we can adhere to, as we lived under the marginalisation of qualified people. My own view is that after the revolution of February 17th, and after October 20th, building a new Libya will begin, although this will take a long time. But I am optimistic, for the people who toppled the Kadhafi regime will build a new Libya.
There must be work to guide the people's enthusiasm toward building – the enthusiasm with which they were working to overthrow the regime and liberate the country. This enthusiasm should now be directed toward state-building in all areas—not placing the burden heavily on the National Council because it is the ruling, executive and legislative authority, but relying on the institutions of civil society, which assume the role of watchdog, because in Libya there are no parties, and these institutions must play a political role and not institutions of a charitable, voluntary or social nature.
Institutions of the political role must be the watchdog over the legitimate authority of the National Council, the governing authority and the executive branch represented in the interim government, in order to detect mistakes and educate people, because I believe that the revolution is still being renewed and on-going.
Magharebia: International rights groups have called for an investigation into the killing of Kadhafi. How does the new Libyan government plan to handle the situation?
Al-Akili: It was addressed by Attorney-General Abdul Aziz al-Hasadi and he in fact announced that a file was opened to investigate the killing Kadhafi and that the file would be ready as soon as possible. We have highly qualified people in the field of the judiciary and the prosecution, and this file will be incorporated at the beginning of the autopsy report in the prosecution's investigations. This file will be ready for human rights and international organisations to review.
Magharebia: How can the Maghreb help Libya?
Al-Akili: It already provided aid. To begin, we are satisfied with solidarity with our people and we do not expect a lot from Arab governments, and often there are governments that have an effective role. We need to co-operate at all levels, beginning with the security, military and health field, and there is a co-operation agreement between us and the attorney-general of the State of Qatar to provide full advice and guidance in all areas and specifically in the judicial field. We hope it is a priority for the Arab states in the reconstruction.