By Sami Zaptia.
London, 28 August 2018:
Libya’s House of Representatives (HoR), Libya’s internationally recognized parliament, failed to muster a quorum for yesterday’s session, which it needed in order to vote-in the constitutional amendment needed to legalise its referendum bill. The referendum bill was agreed in principle at the HoR’s last session before the Eid holidays – subject to a constitutional amendment being passed.
Libya plans to carry out a referendum on its draft constitution which would become the country’s permanent constitution, replacing its Temporary Constitutional Declaration of August 2011 (as amended by the 2014 GNC February Committee).
As a result of the lack of the needed 120-member quorum, the session became a consultative session.
It was agreed that another session would be held next Monday, 3 September in an effort to pass the necessary constitutional amendment.
However, HoR head, Ageela Saleh warned that if next Monday’s session fails to achieve a quorum he would be forced to use Decree No. 5 of 2014 which, he said, permitted him to hold direct elections for a temporary president by the electorate – without going through the HoR.
The threat by Saleh is controversial as it would bypass the wide demand that any further elections held in Libya should be based on solid foundations in order to decrease the election results being contested. These solid foundations are deemed to be a permanent constitution, rather than holding another parliamentary or new presidential elections based on the existing 2011 (amended) temporary constitution.
It will be recalled that all of Libya’s main contending political players had agreed at the May Paris meeting to the holding of Libyan elections by the end of 2018. These elections were to be preceded by the HoR passing the referendum law for the draft permanent constitution.