By Vanessa Tomassini.
Several times, it has been said that Libyan youth represents the solution to the problems that the North African country is facing. This interview with Assad Zhew, the youngest Libyan presidential candidate who has completed the registration procedures so far, seems to confirm this. Calm and cordial tone, Assad Zhew, has no doubts about what to do. Not just slogans, as can often happen in conversations with politicians, but concrete proposals for a complete political program, from economics to reconciling justice that lightens hearts.
Mr. Assad, first of all let me thank you for accepting this interview. Please help me to introduce yourself.
“My name is Asaad Mohsen Zhew. My origins go back to the Al-Sayahan tribe in the far west of Libya, and it is one of the tribes whose lineage goes back to the House of the Messenger of God, peace and blessings be upon him. I am 37 years old and I was born on April 22, 1985. My qualifications are a law degree, and I will soon discuss a master’s thesis in public international law. I can speak English to some extent.”
I think you are the youngest candidate to run for the Libya presidency, how is the Libyan youth living this electoral moment?
“More than 50% of the population are young people, their ages range between 20 and 50 years. They make up the vast majority of those recorded in the voters register, and this gives you a clear indication of the extent of interest, enthusiasm and interaction of Libyan youth, males and females, in this election, and there is a good interaction despite the frustrations experienced by young people during these miserable years.”
Are you running independently or with a political alliance?
“I submitted my candidacy file for the presidential elections as an independent, because the laws regulating the electoral process allowed only the opportunity to run as individuals and as independents. But I belong to a political organization, the Libyan National Gathering Party, which is a national organization that seeks to address Libya’s chronic problems, and we have good and excellent relations with most of the Libyan political organizations, with whom we are in constant communication and coordination”.
Why should Libyans vote for you?
“In my opinion, the Libyans lived a long and bitter experience under the management and authority of flabby and consuming elites, and they are looking forward today to give their confidence to a young and ambitious administration that is close to people’s concerns and problems and possesses the ability, vitality and skill to give and achieve success, in addition I have an integrated project in the development of the country in various fields and ensures Libya’s progress and prosperity with modern tools and young hands.”
There are several reports of tension in many cities in front of the offices of the High National Elections Commission (HNEC). Do you think that all parties will accept the election results?
“There is no escape from accepting the results of the elections because they are the only peaceful option to get out of our complex crises. Otherwise, we will return to square one with wars, fighting, chaos and a complete collapse of life.”
What would your priorities be if you would be elected president?
“Addressing all the current problems and bottlenecks that prevent us from moving forward, and we can summarize some of these programs in the following points:
First: Preserving Libya’s unity and independence, achieving its sovereignty and restoring its prestige.
Second: To strive with sincerity to achieve national reconciliation among all Libyans, reparation for harm and sweeten their thoughts through conciliatory justice that restores their hearts purity and forgiveness without grudges, hatred or revenge.
Third: Working seriously to establish a state of law and institutions, in which every individual knows his rights and duties, based on the principle of citizenship and the rule of law.
Fourth: Unifying the security and military institution and activating them in a way that achieves security and tranquillity for the citizen, and protects the homeland from any encroachment or aggression.
Fifth: Working to form a diversified national economy that preserves Libyans their dignity and achieves the highest possible level of prosperity.
An economy based on investing all local capabilities, private sector participation, achieving sustainable development, social justice in the distribution of wealth, and creating renewable alternatives on which the Libyan economy is based instead of its complete dependence on oil and gas revenues.
Sixth: Completing, as soon as possible, the completion of infrastructure projects, including roads, transportation, communications, electricity and water, raising the level of health and educational services, improving the banking system and restoring people’s confidence in it.
Seventh: Building distinguished international relations based on mutual respect and common interests, emphasizing the effective role of Libya in its Arab, Islamic, regional and international environment, and strengthening the concept of national will and sovereignty for all Libyans.”
What is your position on the foreign forces, fighters and mercenaries’ withdrawal from Libyan territory?
“All foreign military presence on Libyan territory must be evacuated immediately and without delay”.
How is your relationship with the other presidential candidates? With whom could you form an alliance if necessary to pass to the second turn? And with whom would you never deal?
“I am at the same distance from all the candidates, and I have good relations with each other. Our goal is to achieve this national merit, and whoever wins the people’s confidence will be satisfied with him and work with him to achieve development and progress for our country.”
What are the necessary steps to prevent young people from carrying arms and dismantling armed groups outside the State’s control?
“I understand the conditions of the young people who took up weapons during these years, and their reasons. I believe that once a single political administration for the country is formed, the state established in its form that reassures the people, the security and military institutions unified, and the wheel of economy and development moves in the required manner, we will not find a single young man carrying arms. We will not find a militia one in Libya.”
How can the international community help the Libyan people to reach independent, fair and secure elections? How can friendly countries ensure that the election results are respected by all parties?
“The international community plays a major role in achieving stability inside Libya, and most of the local influential parties have external references. I hope that the international community will be sincere this time in helping the Libyan people because it knows exactly which countries are able to close the funds of reliance and open the funds of democracy and development.”