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Kadafi urges massive shake-up

February 15, 2009|Reuters

TRIPOLI, LIBYA — Leader Moammar Kadafi on Saturday called on Libyans to endorse his proposal to dismantle the national government and give the country's oil wealth directly to its 5 million people.

Kadafi has urged a sweeping revision of government bureaucracy, saying the whole Cabinet system should be dismantled to free Libyans from corruption and mismanagement. His plan has run into opposition from senior officials, who stand to lose their jobs in a government purge.

"Do not be afraid to take directly the oil money and the responsibility to create the right government structures that further the interests of the people," Kadafi told representatives of the country's Basic People Congresses.

The people's congresses are the backbone of Libya's government structure and function as the country's top executive and legislative bodies. They represent people at district and village levels across the country, and vote on laws and government policy.

But in practice, Kadafi decides on key policy, particularly regarding oil.

The congresses are to meet in the next few days. Saturday was the first time that Kadafi had called on them to back his idea on oil income and government restructuring.

Many Libyans say they have not benefited from rising oil revenue and foreign investment since Libya abandoned prohibited weapons programs in 2003 to end its international isolation. Kadafi estimated the oil revenue to be handed out to Libyan citizens at $32 billion each year.

Kadafi says corruption has become widespread, and that merely reshuffling the Cabinet will not cure it.

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