By Ahmed Elumami,
Tripoli, 24 November 2013:
An at times extremely bad-tempered GNC debate on constitutional changes that would have guaranteed the linguistic . . .[restrict]and cultural rights of ethnic minorities in Libya, ended with the proposal being lost on a technicality, even though a majority of members voted in favour.
The freshly-elected first deputy president Ezzidine Mohammed Al-Awami was taking his first session, which involved an amendments to Article 30 of the Constitutional Declaration.
Amazigh protestors, who have damaged part of the pipeline from the Wafa field and until last week had forced the closure of the gas processing plant at Mellitah, are demanding both the adoption of Amazigh as a national language and that their current two seats on the 60 Constitutional Committee be increased.
Tonight’s vote was only on the issue of the two minority languages, Tamazight, which is also spoken by the Tuareg, and Tebu.
A rancorous debate was followed by disputes over voting, Amazigh congressman Sulaiman Ghajam told the Libya Herald: “In the end, only 103 congress members out of 142 voted to amend Article 30 and the level needed for the approval [of a constitutional change] is 121. But unfortunately some members were procrastinating and some of them abstained”.
He said he believed the amendment had failed because of the remnants of Qaddafi that he asserted, still exist in congress and some members “do not respect the existence of minorities”.
Ghajam added that he thought that members may debate the issue again next Sunday.
Earlier today, Amazigh Supreme Council member Ayoob Sufian told this paper that it the minority community’s demands were not met, the council would consider as yet, “undeclared measures”.
Sufian added that Amazigh leaders were hoping to meet the GNC. They would announce their next move, depending on the reaction of the congress. [/restrict]