x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Al Ain resident stands up for Libya's new era of freedom

When Libyans in the UAE go to the polls tomorrow, Ramadan S Ben Amer of Al Ain will be among the 2,639 candidates on the ballot.

Ramadan S Ben Amer, a Libyan national living in the UAE, plans to run for office in the upcoming election in Libya.
Ramadan S Ben Amer, a Libyan national living in the UAE, plans to run for office in the upcoming election in Libya.

When Libyans in the UAE go to the polls tomorrow, Ramadan S Ben Amer of Al Ain will be among the 2,639 candidates on the ballot.

Mr Amer is running as an independent candidate in the city of Benghazi, cradle of the revolution.

"It's going to be a tough election as there are many candidates in the fray," said Mr Amer, 53, a media and marketing consultant who has lived in the UAE for 11 years. "But I am trying my best to win it. It's a new era for Libya. I am excited to take part in the elections."

About 2,000 Libyan expatriates will have five days to vote at the Dubai consulate ahead of the elections in their homeland on July 7.

While more than 300 political parties are in the running for 200 seats, Mr Amer believes his compatriots are inclined to support independent candidates.

"Libyans are not sure about the agenda of political parties - whether they are being sponsored from inside or outside," he said.

Mr Amer says that if elected, he will throw his weight behind education and creating opportunities for young Libyans. He said he would also advocate freedom of expression and religion. "We are going to build a new Libya where everyone will have an equal opportunity to learn, grow and prosper. It will be a free country built on strong democratic principles."

He would also like to see initiatives that have been successful in the UAE implemented in his country, such as creating a vibrant economy by promoting and supporting the entrepreneurial spirit.

"Libya should become one of the best in the region," he added. "It has a lot of potential, such as good weather, oil, history and a long coastline that could attract thousands of tourists every year."

To vote, Libyans in the UAE should go to the Dubai consulate by Saturday with proof of identity and any proof of nationality.

frahman@thenational.ae