Libyan Rebel Government Works To Boost Legitimacy After three months of a protracted rebellion, the Libyan opposition is hoping to gain formal diplomatic recognition for its government, the National Transitional Council. But some Libyans are troubled by the council's lack of transparency.
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Libyan Rebel Government Works To Boost Legitimacy

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Libyan Rebel Government Works To Boost Legitimacy

Libyan Rebel Government Works To Boost Legitimacy

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ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

From the rebel-held city of Benghazi, NPR's Martin Kaste reports on what this nascent rebel government is doing to bolster its legitimacy.

(SOUNDBITE OF RALLY)

MARTIN KASTE: It's the rebels' weekly pep rally in Benghazi and this time they have some special guests.

U: (Foreign language spoken)

KASTE: On stage, the emcee introduces delegates from areas of western Libya that are still under Gadhafi's control. The delegates are here to take their places in a 30-seat National Transitional Council, a kind of proto-parliament.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

KASTE: Eastern Libyans like Mansour Makhlouf say they're glad to see them.

KASTE: (Through translator) Gadhafi's people were spreading rumors that we are all divided. But we're not divided. We are all brothers.

KASTE: Some of the western delegates took a gamble getting here. The council's press liaison, Shamsiddin Abdulmolah, says the delegate appointed by rebels in the western city of Misrata was targeted by Gadhafi forces.

KASTE: And they arrested him. Nobody knows where he is right now. So Misrata had to reappoint somebody else, and did not name him until he made it to Benghazi.

KASTE: Jilal Mobruk Bessiouni grew up in Benghazi but now lives in Dallas, where he raised funds to bring to the rebels.

KASTE: I gave the money to the council, to pass it to the needy people that could use it.

KASTE: What do you make of the council? What is your impression of that organization?

KASTE: Well, the jury is still out on that. So, you know, Libya was Gadhafi and nothing else. So it left a huge gap in the thought and the process of governing a state. So I give them a lot of credit. They're crawling and hopefully they're going to be walking soon.

KASTE: Bessiouni says he's troubled by the rebel government's lack of transparency. Meetings are often held in secret, and it's sometimes hard to find out who's in charge of what.

P: You're not talking about the New England City Council.

KASTE: Zahi Bashir Mogherbi is a political science professor at the local university. He says day-to-day decision making was traditionally a closed-door process in Libya.

P: Only the officials who are responsible for the different sectors - sectors of the services, the economy - meet and they decide about the issue that are facing them.

KASTE: Martin Kaste, NPR News, Benghazi, Libya.

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