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article imageOp-Ed: The Libyan Government of National Accord is not yet born

By Ken Hanly     Dec 19, 2015 in Politics
Tripoli - The Libyan Political Agreement that was signed a few days ago in Skhirat, Morocco, also has associated with it a Government of National Accord(GNA) or unity government.
The text of the Libyan Political Agreement was published back in July on the United Nations Support Mission in Libya website. Article 1 says in part: The term of the Government of National Accord shall be one year as of the date of granting it a vote of confidence by the House of Representatives Some parts may have changed but there is no reason to think this section has been eliminated. However, one never knows what the UN does to facilitate whatever it wants to achieve. So far the widely acclaimed LPA text has not appeared on the UN website. The mandate of the House of Representatives(HoR) ran out near the end of October. With no legal basis to do so, it unilaterally extended its mandate. The international community turned a blind eye to what happened and continued to recognize the HoR as the legitimate Libyan government. Back in November of 2014 the Libyan Supreme Constitutional Court declared the elections earlier in 2014 for the HoR were unconstitutional and that the HoR should be dissolved. The international community paid no attention. It may be bit of a puzzler that the HoR with no legal status should be required to approve the GNA, but that is what the LPA says. No one talks about this. The UN could always argue that the LPA created a new and legal HoR to replace the old one.
Neither of the two rival governments the HoR in Tobruk nor the rival General National Congress approved the LPA. Yet if the GNA is to come into being, the HoR must still approve it according to the LPA — at least the latest draft that appears to be available to the general public. It would appear that there are two HoRs however. There is the old HoR in Tobruk that did not approve or sign the LPA and then there is another HoR, the re-legitimized HoR that was created with the signing of the LPA. The UN hopes this group will meet in Tripoli. After they approve the GNA as set out in the LPA, the GNA then comes into being. The composition of the HoR for this meeting will be no doubt all those members of the old HoR who approved the LPA. Those who were against signing it will probably boycott the meeting. However, they could decide to attend to create trouble.
There is one huge problem with respect to the HoR approving the LPA. Even the supposed majority of the old HoR who approved in principle the LPA did so with the proviso that Khalifa Haftar remain as the commander in chief of the Libyan Army, and that some of the names for the GNA suggested by Kobler be changed. The members probably were quite well aware that the GNA required their approval before it becomes a reality. They can thus demand that the part of the LPA that removes Haftar from his position be deleted. As the LPA is now senior members of the GNA act as the commander in chief of the Libyan army:
2. Terms of Reference of the Presidency Council of the Council of Ministers:
a. Assume the functions of the Supreme Commander of the Libyan army
Haftar would never allow this section to come into force unless he has changed his position drastically, and that is unlikely. Haftar virtually controls the HoR. The UN has a choice, they can change the LPA so as to allow Haftar to continue as commander in chief, outraging many others who signed on to the LPA or they can face a blocking tactic once again as their new HoR refuses to agree to a GNA that does not keep Haftar as commander in chief. Kobler met with Haftar recently at his military headquarters in Marj as shown on the appended video. No details of the discussion between the two were released. Perhaps this issue is already resolved in a way that satisfied Haftar. Haftar made none of his usual comments about rejecting the LPA or never negotiating with the GNC or its armed forces.
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
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