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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

House of Representatives to meet on GNA no later than April 18

First Deputy president of the Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR), Shouaib, announced today that the HoR will meet no later than April 18 to discuss and vote on the Libya Political Agreement (LPA) and the Government of National Accord (GNA).

The announcement was made at a press conference in Cairo at the Libyan Embassy. With Shouaib were second deputy president Ahmaid Huma and foreign minister Mohamed Al-Dairi. That the announcement is coming from Cairo shows the importance of Egypt in events in Libya.
The decision came after talks wtih president of the HoR Ageela Saleh. Shouaib also called on the EU to lift the sanctions placed on Saleh. Huma said the HoR could meet as early as next Thursday or even Saturday but at the latest would be Monday, the 18th. Martin Kobler, the Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) welcomed the news.
Shouaib also announced that there would be a session of the Libya Dialogue team next Thursday at which the violations of the LPA, in particular the meeting of the State Council of the GNA last Tuesday in a Tripoli hotel and election of top officials of the State Council, would be discussed. I have discussed the issue here and here. They should talk about the two sections 8 of the LPA that take away Haftar's job as well but no doubt that will not be on the agenda.
Shouaib said that the LPA was breached because the GNA had yet to be approved by the GNA. But the GNA announced it had the green light to go ahead and move to Tripoli and its term start after a meeting of the Libya Dialogue and a letter approving the GNA from an alleged majority of the HoR. He notes other irregularities:There were other irregularities, he said. Under the LPA, 135 members were to be chosen from existing General National Congress members elected on 7 July 2012, but less than 80 members took part in Tuesday’s proceedings. Additionally, another 11 GNC members elected at the same time but who had since resigned were to be selected in cooperation with the Higher National Elections Commission, but that had not happened. He also pointed out that when it comes into existence, the State Council would be an advisory body, not a legislature.What is interesting is what he leaves out. He does not mention that the list was to be presented by the president of the GNC Abusahmain, nor does he even bother to mention that there was a meeting of the GNC that rejected the State Council dissolving of the GNC. He indirectly mentions the resolution on the constitution by noting that the GNC is an advisory not a legislative body. But it was as the GNC not as the State Council that the resolution was made, and the GNC is a legislative body and according to itself the sole legitimate legislature of Libya.
The State Council meeting has sparked several demonstrations among the largest in Tripoli's Martyrs Square. The protesters objected to setting up the Council prior to a vote on the GNA and LPA by the HoR. There were also protests in Benghazi at Kish Square. The State Council can only exist after the HoR gives a vote of confidence in the LPA and GNA and also passes an amendment to the constitutional declaration of 2011 to incorporate the GNA in the constitution. However acting as the GNC, the group did pass this amendment. For it to be valid though the GNC would need to be the legitimate Libya government not the HoR. Peter Millet , UK ambassador, tweeted that the State Council is not a legislative organ but advisory. The legislative authority is the HoR. This is true but it ignores that the group convened not as the State Council but as the GNC, which then passed resolutions. It can do so but up to now the international community has not recognized it. The crowd protesting in Tripoli sided with Millet shouting that the HoR was the only legitimate legislature. The crowd were obviously not supporters of the GNC. Some protesters also expressed support for the fight in Benghazi. The GNC supports the Benghazi Revolutionary Shura Council a target of attacks by Haftar and the LNA. Attacks are ongoing at present.
Some critics are claiming that the president of the Council Sewhli cannot be president since he is also a member of the House of Representatives and this violated the LPA. Some former members of the GNC loyal National Forces Alliance leader Mahmoud Jibril threaten to set up a parallel State Council. It seems no one takes the threat seriously. It is just news for citizen journalists.


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