Friday, March 10, 2017

Libyan House of Representatves fails to agree on new Dialogue members team

The House of Representatives (HoR) the legislature of the Tobruk-based Al-Thinni Libyan government has failed to agree on a new team of representatives to send to the Libya Dialogue.

The HoR is a rival of the UN-brokered Government of National Accord (GNA). The Libya Dialogue is to meet to suggest amendments to the Libya Political Agreement (LPA) designed to ensure that the HoR government will vote confidence in the GNA and amend the constitutional declaration of 2011 as required by the LPA.
A session of the HoR attended by just 114 of the 200 members was suspended after a stormy session until tomorrow. Saleh Lughma spokesperson for the HoR said there were different points of view. While there was an agreement on five team members from the east there was no agreement on the five members each from the west and the south The HoR does not control much of the west and also has minimal control over parts of the south of the country. There are understood to be informal talks happening overnight.
The Libya Observer also reported on the Monday meeting, with much more detail, claiming that chaos erupted after the HoR failed to choose a new dialogue team. Faraj Hashem an MP accused the parliamentary speaker Ageela Saleh of acting unilaterally: “The parliament speaker is trying to impose his opinion on other MPs." The session was broadcast on TV. Saleh wanted the selection on a regional basis to be made by him rather than by election. causing anger among some MPs. Saleh rejected the election choice saying: “The Presidency of the parliament is the one that is entitled to select the new team and the speaker of the parliament is the one who represents the parliament in and outside Libya." The discussion of the selection of the new dialogue members was put on the agenda Saleh said only to hear the opinions of MPs on the subject.
MP's loyal to eastern commander Khalifa Haftar wanted the group to be made up of those who reject the LPA. It is unlikely that the UN which sponsors the Dialogue and I understand controls who will belong within the Dialogue would not accept such members but I could be wrong. One would think that the Dialogue should consist of all those who originally signed the Dialogue as changes are being suggested to the document they signed. Although there were members of the HoR government and the rival Salvation government who signed the LPA at Skhirat in December of 2015, none were delegated to sign as representatives of either government. The LPA requires the HoR vote confidence in the GNA before its term is supposed to start. The HoR has twice refused to vote confidence in the HoR the last time on August 22, 2016.
There had already been meetings of the Dialogue back near the end of January in Tunisia but without any members from the HoR. On the 24th of January 19 member of the Dialogue signed an agreement to accept in principle changes to the LPA:These included: to reform the Presidential Council (PC) by reducing the membership from 9 to 3; to create a new council to assume the powers of the Supreme Commander of the Libyan Army (rather than the PC holding this power); and to appoint a separate prime minister to head the Government of National Accord (GNA) cabinet (rather than the head of the PC also being the head of the GNA).The HoR was scheduled to meet on January 30th to appoint delegates and discuss the amendments but there was no quorum. There has been no report of when a new Dialogue meeting is to take place or where or what the status of the amendments supposedly already agreed to are. It is now over six months since the last rejection of the GNA and progress towards creating a new unity government with the east and field marshal Haftar included seems to be close to zero. This may not bother Haftar who appears to be strengthening his position but the GNA appears to be losing power and prestige. The GNA is even unable to put down the revival of the rival Salvation Government. There are periodic clashes of different militia groups in Tripoli that the GNA seems powerless to stop or prevent.


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