By Moutaz Mathi.
Tripoli, 8 November 2013:
The lack of security in Libya was spectacularly illustrated last night with the rampage against local . . .[restrict]forces by a rogue Misrata militia that was supposed to provide safety in the capital. In Benghazi, meanwhile, forces intent of sabotaging the new order continued their own destructive rampage this morning with a pointedly symbolic attack at a checkpoint in which a small guard building bearing the word “Libya” painted in the national colours red, black and green was blown up.
The backdrop to this corrosive power vacuum is the inability of the national army and police to ensure law and order. Additionally, there is the increasingly evident failure of the General National Congress to perform the tasks that its members were chosen to carry out. It is caused largely by the rivalry among its members.
All this has led to many Libyans who are loyal to the revolution but who do not have any specific ideology to now focus their attention on Congress. Specifically, they are opposed to plans by its members to extend its term of office beyond February next year. They want fresh elections for 200 new members, whom they want to be independents, and who would then appoint a new prime minister. He would then choose his own ministers to serve the country during the transition phase while the assembly elected to draft the new constitution (the so-called Committee of 60) gets on with its work.
These people have chosen tomorrow, 9 November, as a day of protest and have called on Libyans to go out into the streets to demonstrate their opposition to attempts to extend Congress’ term.
“We are not seeking to overthrow the General National Congress which is the rightful body of the state, but we are against any extension to is period of office,” said Hisham Elwandi, one of the organisers of of 9 November event.
“The current Congress members have come to a dead end as far an any mutual understanding is concerned and they are now an obstacle in carrying out the commission for which they were elected by the Libyans.”
There is an opposing view, however. It is by not extending Congress’ life the country’s unity could be threatened, because it would strengthen the position of the Cyrenaica federalists in the east of Libya and the Amazigh in the west. Both have been exercising a stranglehold on oil and gas exports in pursuit of constitutional demands.
Some observers think that biggest supporters to Congress’ life being extended are the “radicals” inside it. The reason is that they see their standing among the people as very weak. If there were new elections they would lose the control over Congress which currently enjoy.
Nobody can guess what the coming days will bring for the country, especially given the evident clash between Congress’ President, Nuri Abu Sahmain, and a number of members, as seen on the TV during the last session.
It remains to be seen if people turn out tomorrow to make a protests and if it has effect on the political scene. Last night’s events could make people more afraid to go out and demonstrate, or it could make them more determined.
Opinion articles do no necessarily reflect the views of the Libya Herald [/restrict]