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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

GNA announcement postponed for two days after deadline missed

According to the terms of the Libya Political Agreement (LPA) signed on December 17 in Skhirat, Morocco, the Government of National Accord(GNA) must be formed and its political program presented to the House of Representatives by midnight tonight.

The Libya Herald reports the announcement of the formation of the GNA has been postponed for 48 hours or two days. This violates the terms of the LPA. It is hardly a surprise that there is a rumour that the Libya Dialogue team who signed the LPA insisted that if there were no government chosen by the deadline, the present Presidential Council would be sacked and a new group chosen.
The membership of the Presidency Council is described in Article 8 of the LPA together with its functions. The latest text available is from July of last year. Since then, the membership has been enlarged. No text of the agreement signed in Skhirat back on December 17th at Skhirat has been made available on the UN website. The failure of the GNA to meet the LPA deadline has not yet been announced on the website.
The designated Prime Minister of the GNA, Faiez Serraj, announced the postponement shortly after the deadline was missed at midnight. He simply said the Council had given itself another two days to complete its task. There is nothing in the LPA that allows such an extension that I have seen. Serraj makes no reference to anything in the agreement that would allow this. There have been rumors about rows within the group over the names of ministers and deputies, the latest being about who would become foreign minister.
The Council has been meeting in the Residence Hotel in the Tunis resort of Gammarth. According to the various politicians and mayors gathering there, the government will consist of the nine-member Presidency Council, plus 22 ministers plus another 44 deputy ministers. The legislature is the former HoR or House of Representatives. The resulting 75 members are split equally between the three main areas of Libya: Tripolitania, Cyrenaica and Fezzan in the south. The heads of 17 state institutions including the key Central Bank and National Oil Corporation also have to be appointed.
A politician waiting hopefully to be appointed to a top ministerial post said: “It’s like a father at the hospital waiting for his wife to give birth, not knowing if it is going to be a son or a daughter. Except in this case we don’t know if the infant is going to be born damaged or with little chance of survival – or maybe stillborn.”Even if it is born during the next 48 hours, it still will begin to breathe and its term start, only after it receives a vote of confidence in the HoR. This must happen within 10 days. The last four times it has met it has failed to achieve a quorum.


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