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article imageOp-Ed: Libya's State Council meets in Tripoli ignores rules of LPA

By Ken Hanly     Apr 5, 2016 in Politics
Tripoli - The State Council of the UN-brokered Government of National Accord (GNA) met today in Tripoli. It called itself the General National Congress (GNC) and then dissolved itself to be reborn the State Council of the GNA.
The usually pro-GNC Libya Observer notes that a number of members of the GNC held a meeting that they described as the first meeting of the State Supreme Council of the GNA. The Council's function is described in article 19 of the Skhirat LPA of December 17. It is mostly an advisory body. The only legislative powers in the GNA are those of the House of Representatives (HoR). The makeup of the Council is described in Annex 3 p. 26:The State Council shall comprise one hundred and forty five (145) members who were elected during the General National Congress elections on 7 July 2012 as per the following:1. One hundred and thirty four (134) male and female members of the General National Congress who enjoy sound membership at the signing this Agreement. The Presidency of the General National Congress shall submit a list containing the names of those members.
Note that the President of the GNC is to submit the list of names for the Council. There was a slight problem. The GNC has not accepted the LPA and Sahmain the president would not send a list. The solution was to enlist former Deputy Speaker Saleh Al-Makhzoum to draw up a list. The list was accepted and the PC the UN and everyone who counts accepted the resulting group as the Council even though this violates the terms of the LPA. Makhzoum also signed on to the Skhirat agreement even though he was not authorized to do so and was not part of the GNC negotiating committee. He and a number of others in the Council have been expelled from the GNC. These are just trifling illegalities of no importance.
The Council Session with 70 members present was held at the Radisson Blu hotel in Tripoli. The actual GNC met later at the GNC headquarters in Tripoli. The Observer notes: The session, which was described also by the attendants as “the final session of the GNC, was put to effect by the second Deputy Speaker of the GNC, Saleh Al-Makhzoum, in which all of the attendants voted unanimously on amending the constitutional declaration and including the political agreement.
This is a supposed meeting of the GNC called by Al-Makhzoum who was expelled from the GNC some time ago. The president of the GNC is not even there and the meeting is in a hotel because the actual GNC will not allow them to use the GNC headquarters. The actual GNC session said the hotel meeting was illegal. They decided to send the issue of the LPA to the judiciary.
Considering that the Libya Herald is often opposed to the GNC it has a quite critical report of the meeting. The Herald mentions that the meeting was at first chaired by Makhzoum and was held in the Radisson hotel because the headquarters of the GNC was still held by Sahmain and his supporters. The Herald quote Makhzoum as saying that 94 members were there but also noted that there were only 67 who were present in the hall. The Herald describes events after the unanimous vote on the constitutional amendment and GNA: In what appeared very much as a stage-managed event, after Makhzoum announced the end of the GNC, the GNC logo behind him was removed and replaced with this of the State Council.
The Herald ends with a statement that shows the entire meeting was illegal since the HoR alone under the terms of the LPA can endorse the agreement and since it has not done so, theoretically the State Council does not exist. One could add that the HoR also needs to pass the constitutional amendment. The State Council does not have the power to pass any legislation even if it does exist. It is an advisory body. These events are bound to result in a negative reaction from the HoR.
Deputy President of the HoR, Emhemed Shouaib, reacted quickly and called on the State Council to show political wisdom. He noted that it was the HoR that needed to vote confidence in the GNA and pass the constitutional amendment: ‘‘Ladies and gentlemen attending the meeting (of the State Council in Tripoli today) tried to pre-empt time and to burn through the various stages (of the LPA) and promoted interpretations and explanations, avoiding the facts of the (Libyan Political) agreement’’. Other members of the HoR and Haftar loyalists may react less diplomatically.
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 DigitalJournal.com
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