Friday, March 18, 2016

Libyan Constitutional Drafting Committee moving to Oman

An official with Libyan Constitutional Drafting Assembly(CDA) has told the Libya Herald that most members will go to Oman next week to continue its sessions there.

The official did not say exactly how many will go. While there are only 56 members of the CDA rather than the 60 needed, decisions by the CDA require a two-thirds plus one majority. However, according to Mohamed Tumi, a Tripoli lawyer boycotting the committee, there are 11 boycotters in all. The boycotters are mostly from the west of Libya, Tripolitania, who feel that the east and the south, Cyrenaica and Fezzan get too many posts, given that two-thirds of the population reside in Tripolitania. The CDA has been demanding that posts be divided more or less equally in the three areas. The two Tebu and two Tuareg members from the two southern tribes have suspended participation because they feel their communities are being discriminated against. Some CDA members are trying to have the two-thirds majority based upon 56 rather than 60, which would mean 38 votes are needed to pass a resolution. Unverified reports claim four boycotters have returned, leaving only seven. Some members will refuse to go to Oman. While the CDA can meet anywhere it wants many do not understand why it cannot operate from a base in Libya such as Ghadames or Ghat.
Etimad Al-Messallati , a member of the CDA, refuses to move to Oman to participate in the drafting sessions. She claims she and other boycotting members still insist that the current draft of the constitution be removed because it is illegal:The CDA member said if the draft were not removed, no one would think of travelling to Oman to attend the CDA sessions, pointing out that she could not understand why they chose Oman in particular while Libya has many cities ready to fulfill this purpose, regarding this move as a foreign intervention in the CDA work.Formerly, 13 CDA members from the western regions of Libya boycotted the sessions to protest the outcome of the Work Committee and the decision-making mechanism.
Boycotting members complained there was an attitude within the CDA that stressed regionalism and some members insist there be three regions with three capitals. There were attempts to impose regional quotas. The group claim the CDA seemed to ignore the concept of a state based upon rights of citizenship wherever citizens live. The boycotters were particularly scathing in attacking the then-head of the CDA Ali Al-Tarhoouni. They accused him of obstructing the work of the committee. Boycotting member Daou Al-Mansouri claimed that Al-Tarhouni addressed international organizations without informing the members. He and others filed a lawsuit in the Al-Bayda Court of Appeal claiming Al-Tarhouni was not eligible for his post since he held dual Libyan American citizenship. The court later ruled against Al-Tarhouni so he has been disqualified.
There have been other protests against the CDA. A number of members of the judiciary held a demonstration in Tripoli against the CDA. The members from a number of judicial associations saying: “We suspend our communication with the Constitution Drafting Assembly after they violated the independency of the Libyan judiciary in the forthcoming constitution, not to mention that they also ignored all the recommendations in favor of the greater good of the country.” It is important that the CDA produce soon a draft constitution that can be voted on in a referendum. If passed it will pave the way for new elections so that Libya will again have one elected government.

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