Hundreds of conference attendees advocating for the return of a constitutional monarchy in Libya were buoyed by the presumptive heir to the throne's announcement that he is ready to serve the country and its people.
Prince Mohammed El-Senussi, in a statement following the Oct. 31 conference in the city of Gharyan, saluted those who argued for a return to the Constitution of Independence, one that would see the re-establishment of the monarchy.
This is "the only viable and constructive way forward four homeland," El-Senussi said. The great nephew of King Idris, head of state from 1951 until his overthrow in 1969, was not directly involved in organizing the conference, which was attended by an estimated 600 people.
El-Senussi argued that the 1951 constitution was the way for the country to "emerge from the current crisis that no-one can bear any longer."
"I ask Almighty God to help us and to help our people to realize their hopes and to return to freedom, security, prosperity and the dignified life enjoyed during the years of the glorious monarchy and the glorious Constitution of Independence," El-Senussi said.
Ashraf Baoudouara, who helped organize the event, echoed the prince's position that a restoration was “the only solution to take Libya out of our crisis."
"We did not expect so many people to turn up,” Baoudouara told the Libya Herald. He said there was also a massive number of messages of support from, among others, including tribal leaders, particularly from the east.
But there is skepticism among some Libya watchers that the monarchists can play any significant role amid the continuing turmoil in the country, let alone install El-Senussi as head of state.
It is highly unlikely, if not impossible, Barak Barfi, a research fellow at the New America Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, previously told Maghreb News Wire. Barif explained that while the monarchists appeared to have wide support following the 2011 ouster and public execution of Muammar Gaddafi, it has dissipated in more recent years. One reason, the analyst said, was support for the Cyrenican federalism movement.
That made the prince and his supporters suspect among many Libyans. The Cyrenican federalism movement, which is based in the east of the country, calls for splitting Libya along federal lines.
El-Senussi began his statement by offering his condolences to the families who lost their lives in recent air strikes on the towns of Abiar and Derna. An as yet unknown number of people died in the strikes, which are being linked to the Gen. Khalif Haftar, whose forces control much of the eastern part of the country.