Monday, 2 May 2011

Heir to Libyan throne under Brussels spotlight

Just before Easter Libya's Crown Prince Mohammed as-Senussi made a high-profile appearance in the European Parliament EurActive reported. He presented himself as a constitutionalist and lobbied for his country's 1951 monarchic constitution to provide the building blocks of the future Libya.

The heir to the throne of Libya addressed, in Arabic, a crowded meeting room before taking some questions. The event, organised by the Conservative and Reformists (ECR) group, was attended by MEPs across party lines, curious to see the monarch-in-waiting of the oil-rich country.

Crown Prince Mohammed as-Senussi told the story of his family. Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi ousted his great uncle, King Idris I, from power in 1969, and today's Crown Prince and his family faced the brutality of the regime too.

In 1988, he was banished overseas by the regime and lived in the UK with other members of the Liyan Royal Family. Before dying in 1992, his father, Prince Hasan as-Senussi, appointed him as his successor as Crown Prince and head of the Royal House of Libya.

After 1992, he said he had been working with his brothers with the Libyan opposition, organising different events in Europe.

Crown Prince Mohammed as-Senussi said he wanted more Western nations and Arab countries to join France and the UK, the leaders of which he personally thanked for enforcing the no-fly zone, in putting pressure on Qaddafi. He did not enter into details of what this pressure might be.

Asked to explain his attitude vis-a-vis the Benghazi-based Libyan Interim Council, he said he had good relations with them, but stressed that the key word was that this was indeed an interim body. He insisted that the Libyan constitution of 1951, which marked the country's independence from Italy and set up a constitutional and hereditary monarchy, provides the building blocks for the future of the country.

But he left the door open for adaptations to the constitution to be made and for the Libyan people to decide which form of democracy they wanted, whether a constitutional monarchy or a republic.

Asked to specify if he was appealing for ground troops to be sent to Libya, His Royal Highness explained that for any decision, the will of the Libyan people was of primary importance. He added that this was not the case at present, but that the situation might change over time.

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