By Farah Waleed.
Tripoli, 10 February 2015:
Plans to amend the rules of the continuing General National Congress and reduce the quorum needed . . .[restrict]for meetings and votes failed today because, according to one member, there was no quorum.
Congress had announced that it planned to vote a constitutional amendment on the size of the quorum necessary for passing laws so that the budget and “other laws” could be passed.
However, according to the member, who did not want to be named, 100 members attended the session but the change needed 106 votes to become law.
The figures are surprising. Diplomats and other observers have constantly reported that Congress is lucky if more than 45 members attend. Omar Al-Hassi was said to have been appointed prime minister by just 16 members out of 20 members attending.
Until very recently, no figures have been given as to numbers in attendance by Congress spokesman Omar Hemidan and TV cameras do not pan around the hall to show who is there. However, this has suddenly changed. A week ago, when Congress elected Awad Abdul Saddeq as its new First Deputy President in place of Ezzidin Al-Awami who considers it consigned to history, Hemidan said that the decision had been supported by 75 out of 105 members in attendance.
Given the large number of members who take the same view as Awami, the figures do not seem to add up. Moreover, if as many 105 members are regularly attending, there would be no need to reduce the quorum for issues such as the budget which, being a non constitutional matter, does not require such a high quorum to be voted through. The fact that Congress wants to reduce the quorum is seen as evidence of low attendance.
Reports that a number of Libya Dawn figures have been co-opted to serve in Congress remain unconfirmed. [/restrict]