By George Grant.
Tripoli, 11 July:
The NTC’s final decision to strip the National Congress of the power to appoint the commission charged . . .[restrict]with drawing up Libya’s permanent constitution could be scrapped, the National Forces Alliance has said.
The decision, which was made last Thursday, sparked controversy coming just 48 hours before Saturday’s elections.
“If I were in their position I would have stopped taking decisions”, said the NFA’s secretary general, Faisal Krekshi. “The NTC had no right to interfere in that way. They had no legitimacy at that point, because the representatives of the people were coming”.
Previously, the commission was to have been appointed by the Congress, with this being understood as one of its primary functions.
The NTC made the change in an effort to placate federalists in eastern Libya unhappy at the distribution of seats on the new legislative body. 100 seats on the Congress are reserved for western Libya as against 60 for the east and 40 for the south.
Federalists have said that this will leave the east at a disadvantage when it comes to making key decisions about Libya’s future, including appointments to the constitutional commission.
Federalist leaders had earlier dismissed the NTC’s move, branding it “too little too late”.
The NTC had previously indicated that concerns over the appointment of commission members could be overcome by having bloc votes in the Congress, with representatives from the three regions respectively choosing their own commission representatives.
The commission itself will have 60 members, with 20 from each of Libya’s three regions.
“All the decisions of the NTC are under scrutiny”, Krekshi said. “Those decisions deemed to be beneficial to the stability and rebuilding of Libya we will support, and those deemed to have a destabilising influence we will oppose”.
Although final results are yet to be confirmed, the NFA looks set to dominate the 80 seats on the Congress reserved for political parties, with perhaps the most important question now being the extent to which the 120 individual candidates will work together with the alliance.
Editor’s Note: From today, the Libya Herald will be referring to the National Conference as the National Congress, to reflect the growing common consensus which favours the latter. The former name was the one given to it in the Constitutional Declaration of 3 August 2011, and had been used by this paper since. [/restrict]