By Sami Zaptia.
London, 8 May 2016:
The House of Representatives (HoR) Deputy Presidents Emhemed Shouaib and Ahmaid Huma led a HoR delegation . . .[restrict]visit to Tripoli for a meeting with Faiez Serraj and his Presidency Council (PC)/Government of National Accord (GNA).
They were accompanied by a HoR delegation made up of members from the south.
Reporting on the meeting, the PC said that the occasion was organised in an effort to find a ‘’mechanism’’ to achieve ‘’a high level of national consensus’’ and a ‘’means of enabling the HoR in its role as the legislative authority’’ of Libya.
The meeting also ‘’followed up the work of the PC’’ and what ‘’hinders its work’’.
The PC reported that there were a series of meetings held during one of which a new initiative by the HoR members from the south of the country (deemed more neutral in the east-west political tug-of-war).
The initiative was concerned with the granting of a vote of confidence in the GNA by the HoR. It was hoped that the initiative would deal with the political reservations on both sides as well as satisfying their demands. No details of the new initiative were revealed.
The latest security situation, as well as the economic and financial crises of the country and needs of citizens were also discussed at the meeting held last Thursday.
The PC reported that at the end of the meeting Shouaib and Huma called on PC President Faiez Serraj to deal with the proposed initiative with all seriousness and with a high spirit of patriotic responsibility.
The meeting shows a number of interesting things. Firstly, that the PC still recognizes the sole, legitimate, legislative authority of the HoR in Libya, despite the fact that in Tripoli it has started to act as a legitimate authority prior to its GNA being approved by the HoR.
The fact that the meeting was to follow up or review the work of the PC suggests that the PC felt obliged to present its activities to the HoR.
It also clearly and openly displays the wide split within HoR as the delegation notably did not include HoR president Ageela Salah.
For example, there have been contradictory statements coming out of various HoR members about the possibility of the HoR holding a meeting to vote on the GNA in the neutral city of Ghadames.
The official spokesman for the HoR, Faraj Abuhashim, said a few days ago that ‘’the organization continues for a HoR session to vote on GNA in Ghadames’’. This conflicts with what HoR president Ageela Saleh has consistently maintained: namely that the HoR can only meet in Tobruk and implicitly under his leadership.
The statement by Abuhashim further exposes the divisions within the HoR and now confirms that the officially appointed HoR spokesman may now no longer reflect the view point of HoR president Saleh.
Meanwhile, while others have been working hard in Libya to find a way past the political impasse, HoR president Ageela Saleh has chosen to attend a conference in Africa.
As mentioned, no details of the new initiative by the HoR members from the south have been revealed. However, it will be interesting to see how the initiative will get round the inherent weaknesses of the LPA.
The pro-HoR political forces in the east are split into at least two camps. On the one hand they support a PC/GNA in principle, but insist on it being protected by an independent-of-militias and so called ‘’Islamists’’ army in Tripoli. The pro-Hafter and Federalists in the east insist on Hafter leading any Libyan National Army.
To this end, the Hafter camp object to Article 8 of the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) and will not allow a vote to go ahead in the HoR approving the GNA prior to article 8 being dropped.
In Tripoli, the second half of the LPA the faction of the GNC now dominating the High State Council as well as the incomplete PC, are keen to make progress on the ground without the reluctant HoR. including setting up of a new unified army command for both western and eastern forces to fight IS in Sirte – without Hafter.
It will be interesting to see how the new HoR initiative will square these, what seem, fundamentally mutually exclusive demands. [/restrict]