By Umar Khan.
Tripoli, 3 May 2013:
Negotiations have been taking place today, Friday, for the third consecutive day between revolutionaries supporting the . . .[restrict]Political Isolation Law and Prime Minister Ali Zeidan over the sieges at a number of government ministries. According to the revolutionaries and a senior government official, the Prime Minister has offered to appoint six ministers named by them and promised to remove anybody that falls under the Isolation Law, once it is passed.
However, the negotiations have so far failed. It is because the revolutionaries have upped the pressure with calls for the removal of the Prime Minister, sources said.
If no agreement is reached between the two, revolutionaries say they want the General National Congress to appoint a new prime minister.
Outside the negotiations room, both sides have been trying to rally support behind them with public demonstrations. The call for today’s demonstration came after two consecutive days of small demonstrations in the city’s Algeria Square against the surrounding of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the assaults on other ministries by brigades. Today’s demonstration of around 500 people in support of the government is finally some good news for Zeidan.
The political isolation law supporters have been keeping up the pressure with regular demonstrations in Martyrs’ Square while revolutionaries supporting the law continue to surround the ministries. The latter currently surrounding the Foreign Affairs Ministry belong to brigades from various towns and cities, including Misurata, Azzawiya, Kikla, Nalut and Tripoli.
They are demanding Congress pass and implement the much-talked Isolation Law that would stop Qaddafi-era officials from holding any high-level positions.
There have been several demonstrations in Martyrs’ Square asking Congress to pass the law and a permanent tent supporting the law that has been in Martyrs Square for months serves as the rallying point for supporters of this controversial law.
The first call for the isolation law came in September 2011, after the liberation of Tripoli when the revolutionaries, after a conference, issued a statement asking for a “new Libya to be led by new faces”.
Congress is set to vote on the Isolation law this Sunday. However, the largest bloc, the National Forces Alliance of former Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril, has threatened to boycott sessions if they are not moved to eastern Libya because of security concerns. They have also threatened to withdraw permanently if force is used to intimidate members into voting for the law.
The other blocs have denounced the actions of the brigades surrounding the ministries, saying they need to show self-restraint, but have announced support for the isolation law.
The chances for a military showdown seem slim at best while the negotiations continue but both sides appear to be preparing to deal with any situation. According to the newly established ‘Joint Security Forces’, more than 300 armed vehicles have entered Tripoli in the past two weeks. According to revolutionaries these are support convoys coming from brigades belonging to different cities to express distrust on Zeidan’s government.
One leader of the revolutionaries taking part in the negotiations alleged that the government did nothing to stop Qaddafi regime remnants from moving back into power despite assuring the revolutionaries several times otherwise. “He repeatedly promised to act against the former regime members but did nothing and now we don’t want to waste any more time. Libya needs to move on.” [/restrict]