By Ashraf Abdul-Wahab.
Tripoli, 5 August 2014:
The president of the former General National Congress Nuri Abu Sahmain and the Grand Mufti, Sheikh . . .[restrict]Sadik Al-Ghariani have said that the new House of Representatives, elected in June and which held its inaugural meeting yesterday in Tobruk, is unconstitutional.
Sahmain maintains that because there was no formal Tripoli handover by the GNC to the new legislature, it is not therefore legally constituted.
The Grand Mufti also weighed in against the new parliament, congratulating the 30 members who did not attend its first meeting.
He called the new assembly as a coup against democracy, a move that was void and lacked legitimacy and was contrary to the constitution.
Ghariani delivered his views in a phone call from London where he has been for nearly three months apparently for medical treatment. Speaking to a TV reporter he also said that those members of the Misrata-led Operation Libya Dawn forces who died in the battle for Tripoli would go to heaven while those who opposed them would burn in hell.
The political department of the Justice and Construction Party has likewise said in a statement that because it had not received power at a ceremony organised to occur yesterday in the capital, the House of Representatives did not have the authority to operate.
As it was, the last meeting of the GNC, at which the handover was due to be made, never really took place. Arranged only on Sunday evening, no more than 30 members of the new parliament turned up along with some other 70 guests. However Sahmain did not appear and the formal ceremony was abandoned.
Another senior voice joined the protest today against the new parliament when Abdurrahman Sewehli, who is one of Misrata’s newly-elected Representatives, also declared the House of Representatives a coup against democracy. Sewehli floated the possibility that the legitimacy of the new body could be challenged in the Constitutional Court.
With the legitimacy of the new House internationally and nationally accepted, the arguments advanced by Abu Sahmain and Ghariani are not seen as carrying much weight in the country and may well undermine their own credibility.
The House’s legitimacy was further strengthened this evening when four more members arrived in Tobruk, leaving the rump of 26 in Tripoli powerless and looking increasingly irrelevant.
Of the four who flew to Tobruk the most important was the former Deputy Prime Minister Mustafa Abushagur (Suq Al-Juma). The others were Salem Ignan (Nalut), Ali Al-Tikali (Ain Zara), and Salah Zibaik (Gharyan).