By Saber Ayyub and Hadi Fornaji.
Tripoli/Tunis, 24 November 2015:
Discussions in the House of Representatives (HoR) on the Government of National Accord . . .[restrict](GNA) proposed by the UN-brokered Libya Dialogue came to an abrupt end today when the session was suspended. According to the pro-HoR office of the Libyan news agency LANA, the suspension followed heated discussions about the plan and ended up with a fight in the parliament.
The session was the first chance the HoR had had to discuss the GNA. For two weeks, HoR president Ageela Salah Gwaider found convenient reasons to be out of the country and therefore unable to convene a session to debate the GNA.
Prior to today’s meeting, 92 HoR members had signed a statement backing the GNA. They also accused the Salah Gwaider of violating the HoR’s rules by preventing them from meeting. However, they also effectively said that there could be no changes in the leadership of the Libyan National Army (LNA) (in other words General Khalifa Hafter) and that the names announced by former UN special envoy Bernardino Leon for the proposed presidency council needed modifications.
Today’s statement backed the initiative from Fezzan members submitted earlier this month. This accepts the final Libya Dialogue draft agreement published on 7 October rather than the 11 July version which was more favourable to the HoR.
Hardline members oppose the former calling it unacceptable.
The Fezzan initiative does not, however, provide the backing for the Dialogue deal that new UN Special Envoy Martin Kobler would like. It rejects the names announced by Leon of prime minister, deputy prime ministers and senior ministers who together make up the presidency council.
The Fezzan initiative also says that the LNA is fighting against terrorism and cannot be subject to negotiations in relation to any political agreement.
Today’s suspension has angered many members. Benghazi member Younis Fanoush has called it “a final nail in the coffin” of the HoR’s legitimacy. Janzour member Ayman Saifennasr suggested the suspension was a further case of sabotage by Salah Gwaider.
“He doesn’t want to vote because members from the east still haven’t agreed on the name of their nominee as extra deputy to the prime ministry,” he told the Libya Herald.
After naming the three deputy prime ministers, Leon then increased their number to five and added an extra top minister to the presidency council.
Kobler is reported to have told the HoR and the GNC to send him the names they want appointed to the extra posts.
For his part, Seifennaser insisted that the 92 signatories to the GNA call constituted a clear majority of HoR members. The maximum number who turned to to take part in sessions was 131, he claimed.
Meanwhile in Tripoli, the GNC deferred discussion of the Dialogue deal and its proposed government until tomorrow, Wednesday. A spokesman said that, in any case, the GNC regarded the October text as ”defective”.
Separately, the Nation Party has complained that when he was in Tripoli on Saturday Kobler did not met with its leader, former LIFG commander Abdul-Hakim Belhaj.
He is now widely seen as the real master of Tripoli although his party failed to win anything other than any significant support in the ballot box. [/restrict]