By Hadi Fornaji.
Tripoli, 28 February 2013:
The Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court has ruled that Amendment No. 3 passed in July . . .[restrict]2012 by the former National Transitional Council (NTC) to the 2011 Constitutional Declaration is invalid.
The amendment, voted by the NTC on 5 July 2012, two days before the elections for the General National Congress last year, stated that the 60-member Constitutional Commission should be directly elected rather than appointed by the General National Congress. The move was an attempt to placate Cyrenaica federalists threatening to disrupt the polls.
The appeal against the decision, brought by a number of lawyers, was based on the legality of the move rather than the political wisdom of it. The challenge, which the Supreme Court upheld on Tuesday, was that the amendment did not receive the necessary absolute two-thirds majority vote in the NTC.
The Supreme Court’s ruling is extremely unlikely, however, to make any difference as far as elections to the Constitutional Commission go. The court also ruled that that Congress had jurisdiction in selecting the members of the Constitution Commission.
On 5 February, Congress decided that the Commission should be directly elected. In making that decision, Congress has effectively exercised its jurisdiction, in this case by deciding the selection should be made by the electorate.
However, the decision may set a precedent for nullifying other NTC amendments to the Constitutional Declaration which also failed to achieve a two-thirds majority.
Most notable is Amendment No. 1, passed on 13 March 2012. It established that the Commission should have 60 members, 20 each from the three historic provinces of Libya: Tripolitania, Cyrenaica and Fezzan. [/restrict]