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article imageOp-Ed: House of Representatives rejects Libyan unity government

By Ken Hanly     Aug 22, 2016 in Politics
Tobruk - After many meetings which either lacked a quorum or were disrupted, today the House of Representatives (HoR) met in Tobruk and held a vote of confidence in the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA).
Spokesperson for the HoR, Abdallah Bilhaq, claimed 101 deputies attended with 61 voting against the GNA, 39 abstaining, and only one voting in favor. A tweet also confirmed the numbers present: " ‏@Eljarh #Confirmed HoR Rapporteur has just confirmed live that 101 members were present and a majority of 61 voted to reject the GNA. #Libya." However another tweet describes the vote as fake and gives different numbers: " 12 abstention +1 refused +61 agrees to topple the government = 74 = Where's the quorum ? !@UNSMILibya @KoblerSRSG " Western media including Bloomberg take the vote as legitimate.
The vote is a crushing blow to PM of the GNA, Faiez Serraj, and to Martin Kobler, UN envoy who have both been trying to get the endorsement of the HoR required by the Libya Political Agreement (LPA) signed in Skhirat Morocco last December. The vote would make the HoR the legislature of the GNA. It was supposed to begin the term of the GNA as well, but the GNA moved to Tripoli some time ago and began operation. At a February meeting of the HoR 100 members are supposed to have signed a letter supporting the GNA. This and a meeting of some Dialogue members who had signed the LPA were used to justify moving the GNA from Tunis to Tripoli at the end of March. Obviously that majority was nowhere to be seen at today's meeting as only one person voted in favor of the GNA. Kobler has claimed all along that a majority approved the GNA but today's events show him wrong at best and a liar at worst. While a majority may approve the GNA in principle it has always been with a number of provisos including having Haftar remain as commander of the Libyan National Army. As it is under the LPA, the Presidential Council of the GNA serves that function. This is not acceptable to Haftar and his backers in the HoR who obviously have a majority.
Kobler may try to find some way around the situation. Back in May, a meeting of members of the HoR who supported the GNA was planned for the western city of Ghadames. However, it never took place.
The GNA faces increasing difficulties. Electrical workers are protesting not being paid, kidnappings in Tripoli are increasing and a militia group is occupying the military intelligence headquarters just to mention a few issues. The GNA is also having problems exporting oil. Haftar's troops are threatening to take over oil ports held by the Petroleum Facilities Guard who support the GNA and the Tripoli-based National Oil Company (NOC). Haftar supports the HoR and the rival NOC in the east demanding that exporters have permits from the eastern NOC.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Libyan Government of National Accord, Libyan House of Representatives, Martin Kobler
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