By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 22 July 2014:
The official election results for the House of Representatives were successfully announced yesterday by Libya’s . . .[restrict]High National Election Commission (HNEC). Libya awaits the handover by the outgoing General National Congress (GNC) to the incoming House of Representatives.
Meanwhile, probably with the usual degree of unrealistically raised hopes and expectations, there is much debate in Libya currently as to what should be the priorities of this newly elected House of Representatives.
Some may say the constitution, others may say health, others may say education. Some may say standards of living, wages and oil production, whilst others may say infrastructure and construction and the diversification of the economy.
No doubt all these are important and are needed, but for Libya to achieve an improvement in any of the above it needs: security.
Whilst the state has been trying in vain to impose security, the presence of a large number of state recognized and sponsored militias acting autonomously has remained the barrier to the ability of the Libyan state to achieve security.
Unless the newly elected House of Representatives is able to dominate and control the militias, in reality Libya would have made little progress from the era of the GNC. The issue of the militias and their relationship with the state and specifically the new legislature in the form of the House of Representatives is the paramount issue and relationship for the new House – and for the whole of Libya and its allies and neighbours.
Unless the House succeeds in resisting the pressures and coercions of the militias and establishes its sovereignty, reflecting the political sovereignty and supremacy of the electorate over and above the militias – democracy will be the victim in Libya.
Only by fending off the attempts by the various warlords at the head of the various militias to impose their will on the dealings of the House can the newly elected Representatives move Libya forward with a much needed set of progressive policies.
Only by establishing a strong police and army under the control of and loyal to the people through its newly and democratically elected House of Representatives can security and safety be established.
It is security and safety that are the prerequisite to any development on a multiplicity of fronts such as implementing the constitution, health, education, oil production, improved standards of living, diversification of the economy, infrastructure and construction etc.
The House of Representatives needs to reestablish its relationship and dynamics with the militias and their commanders. It must set down new criteria and rules of engagement. The militias must be made to understand that Libya is for all Libyans and that it must set policies that serve the interests of them all.
The House of Representatives cannot continue to offer legal recognition and continue to pay the wages in the billions for a couple of hundred thousand militias without any return on investment for the Libyan public.
It must also establish to the militias the principle that the House of Representatives obtains its supreme legislative legitimacy directly from the Libyan electorate, which is the supreme form of legitimacy in the realm of democratic politics. Supreme means that the people through democratic elections, are politically over and above the militias and their commanders.
The Representatives must also impress upon the militias that the 17 February revolution was ignited by the ordinary general people of Libya and for the benefit of all the Libyan people. The revolution and the people through democratic elections appoint representatives to act as custodians or guardians of the revolution and its ideals at the centre of which is democracy and the democratic process. Libyans no longer want militias and 17 February revolutionary committees to speak or act on their behalf in guarding their ideals which are the ideals of their own revolution.
The House must also impress upon the militias that the international community came to the aid of the Libyan people in general and not in support of militias or their leaders. They came to aid a suppressed people aspiring for freedom and democracy from tyranny. The international community did not, and does not according to all its latest pronouncements, wish to swap one type of suppression and tyranny (Qaddafi) with another (militias).
The task ahead of the House of Representatives is going to be a tough challenging task. They are going to be subjected to all sorts of coercion and skullduggery. But they must stand firm and must not lose focus or be distracted from their main tasks – the task of establishing safety and security by gaining full and total control over the militias.
Only by establishing safety and security can the new legislature through its executive arm, the government, have any realistic hope of fulfilling the long list f demands, wishes, hopes and dreams of the expectant Libyan people. [/restrict]