Considerable resistance to attempts to empower the Government of National Accord

The Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) signed in Skhirat, Morocco, on December 17 last year has a provision that requires the internationally recognized House of Representatives (HoR) give a vote of confidence in the GNA before its term of office begins.

The UN has been unable to hold a vote in the HoR on the issue. An earlier session when there was a vote rejected the GNA because it had too many ministers and also demanded the Section 8 — that would take away Khalifa Haftar's commander-in-chief job and give it to the Presidency Council — be deleted. No vote has been held on the new GNA. Meetings have been either without a quorum or ended when they were disrupted. In response, the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG), Martin Kobler called together the Political Dialogue members who had signed the Skhirat agreement to agree on a way forward. The group first issued a statement that among other items urged that the GNA move to Tripoli as soon as possible. In spite of the lack of a vote from the HoR, the group also spoke of the GNA as the only way forward. Subsequently, the UN issued a new release which spoke not only of moving to Tripoli but describes the GNA as the only legitimate Libyan government. The move to Tripoli is obviously part of the plan to gain control of the Libyan Central Bank and the National Oil Company. This would deprive the two rival governments of funds and enable the GNA to buy off opposition. The release also speaks of the necessity to hand over financial institutions to the GNA.
The GNA Presidential Council has conveniently ignored the formal requirement of a vote of confidence in the HoR before the term of the GNA begins. As the Libya Herald notes:The Presidency Council has claimed that its proposed 13-ministry government has effectively been given the go-ahead by the endorsement signed by some hundred members of the House of Representatives (HoR) last month and by the Libya Dialogue in its statement on Thursday.Several of the hundred members have claimed that they did not sign the statement.
The announcement has angered some of the Skhirat agreement signatories, including three different political parties. The Libya Observer reports:A joint statement by the National Forces Alliance, the National Front Party and Alwattan Party, in addition to some MPs and politicians said the statement of the Presidency Council is an attempt to jump on the political agreement, warning that any violation to Skhirat agreement would strip the Presidential Council of its credibility."Giving the government a vote of confidence lies within the powers of the House of the Representatives," the statement explains.The group also noted that the constitutional declaration of 2011 must be amended before the Skhirat agreement goes into effect. This key feature of the situation is often ignored. Also ignored is that if the GNA is approved by the HoR, then section 8 of the LPA comes into play and General Haftar loses his job to the Presidency Council. The signatories also asked that the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) remain neutral and keep to the provisions of the LPA. It is much too late for that since the LPA provisions have already been violated numerous times.
A few other news outlets, including the BBC, have noted that the Libya Dialogue was actually calling for a speedy vote of approval of the GNA by the HoR:
However, on Thursday, a statement by Libya's Political Dialogue Team - composed of members of political figures in Libya and some MPs representing the country's two rival parliaments - did not appear to pave the way for this move. It called for a speedy parliamentary vote on the proposed government, the BBC's Rana Jawad in Tunis notes.
Some individual analysts also see difficulties in the GNA and UN actions including Jason Pack of Libya Analysis. Pack notes several parties and individuals who signed the Skhirat agreement condemned the move as an attempt to skirt HoR endorsement. Pack claims the move further discredits the UN mediation in the Eastern Region who regard certain Libyan actors as manipulating the process to prop-up their own partners and interests.
Pack claims that the French threat to impose EU sanctions on Ageela Saleh only bolsters the legitimacy of actors rejecting the LPA. The same may happen through the threats against GNC officials. Pack points out that many Libyan and foreign actors are ignoring the ban on weapons imports for the two rival governments. As Pack rightly put it: Reports of these flagrant violations of the Libyan arms embargo paint a cynical picture of international and regional support for the UN mediated solution for Libya.I doubt that we will hear of any sanctions being imposed on those responsible for the violations.
According to Pack, some eastern Libyan fighters have switched allegiance from Ibrahim Jadhran, who heads the Petroleum Forces Guard (PFG), to commander of the Libyan National Army, Khalifa Haftar. This would give more power to pro-Haftar groups. Pack concludes: Increased pressure by the international community to salvage the UN process without amending its flawed approach is likely to enflame leaderless separatist sentiment as a fracturing of all Libyan political movements other than the LNA is underway. In fact, the HoR may splint into two camps — an anti-GNA Tubruq camp and a pro-GNA camp meeting elsewhere in Libya.
There is also strong resistance to the GNA in the west with the GNC rejecting it. It is not clear that the GNA is viable anywhere in Libya. The west is very much split. There is not even unity within the Presidency Council as according to reports, three of the nine members have suspended membership.
None of this opposition seems to matter to the UN and its huge chorus of international cheerleaders. This is representative the chants of the cheerleaders:The ministers of Foreign Affairs of France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy welcome the statement of the members of the Libyan Political Dialogue, gathered in Tunis on the 10th and on the 11th of March 2016. France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union express full support to the Government of National Accord as proposed by the Presidency Council, and acknowledge the statement of 23 February signed by a majority of members of the House of Representatives in which they announced their support for the Government of National Accord.
No one talks of Section 8 of the LPA. If the GNA is now in operation then the Presidency Council has the function of commander-in-chief of the Libyan National Army not Khalifa Haftar. There is no sign that this is happening even though some supporters of Haftar claim that the Presidency Council is dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood. It seems a bit odd that the Council does not talk immediately act and turf Haftar from his job. Actually, another section 8 transferred powers of the commander in chief to the Council back on December 17.


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