By Naom Alkhoshi and Moutaz Ali.
Tripoli, 23 July 2014:
The General National Congress has said it will begin . . .[restrict]the handover of power to the House of Representatives on 4 August.
In decision No. 56 of 2014 issued today by its President, Nuri Abu Sahmain, the outgoing Congress said it would begin the transition to the new legislature on that date and would announce the location and timing of the handover ceremony in due course. It is understood that Congress envisages the handover taking place in Tripoli.
Concerns have been raised by some Congress members as well as newly elected House of Representatives deputies that the security situation in Benghazi made it impossible to meet there.
In the Congress decision it said that after the handover ceremony, the first session of the House would be chaired by its oldest member with the youngest as the interlocutor.
There have been calls from inside the country and the international community for the new legislature to meet as soon as possible, particularly to address the ongoing crisis in Tripoli.
Earlier, one of the new members of the House, prominent activist Ali Al-Tikbali who was elected for Central Tripoli said that other members from the west of the country had agreed to give Congress the chance to officially hand over power before the new body started work and that the start would be on 4 August.
According to him, a meeting was held last night involving some House members from the west to discuss the call by others from Benghazi to start holding sessions without waiting for an official handover from Congress.
He said that some members understood that they had to adhere to the democratic process in order for the new legislature to start holding sessions. Others had pointed out that they were unready for this sudden invitation and that they needed several days to prepare to travel to Benghazi.
Although many Libyans believe that some of the newly elected officials are afraid to work from Benghazi, Tikbali told the Libya Herald that the decision to have the Parliament meet in Benghazi was almost unanimous.
Congress had announced earlier that it would hold a session yesterday to vote on the election results but failed to follow through. [/restrict]