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article imageOp-Ed: Libyan House of Representatives to debate LPA draft Monday

By Ken Hanly     Oct 11, 2015 in Politics
Tripoli - The internationally-recognized House of Representatives(HoR) based in Tobruk, in eastern Libya, will debate the UN-brokered Libya Peace Agreement(LPA) this Monday.
The HoR will also discuss the names of the prime minister, three deputy prime ministers, plus two others who will make up the Presidency Council, the chief executive body during the transition period until a new constitution is approved and new elections held. The special envoy of the UN to LIbya, Bernardino Leon, hopes to have the new Government of National Accord in place before October 20, when the mandate of the HoR runs out. The HoR, however, has unilaterally extended its mandate contrary to the requirement that it should be extended only as part of the LPA and within its terms.
Leon did not choose any of the names presented by the HoR for the prime minister. The General National Congress government(GNC) government based in Tripoli did not present any names. It refused to do so until further changes were made to the LPA. Leon said he could not make changes to the LPA. In spite of this, Leon did make changes to the LPA. He added one further deputy minister, Musa Kuni, a member of the Tuareg community important in the south of Libya. Also selected as a member of the council was Omar Aswad from Zintan. The Zintan military council has already rejected the LPA. Earlier the HoR had rejected the draft LPA because of amendments Leon had made to satisfy demands of the GNC. The HoR wants Leon to use an earlier version without the amendments.
The GNC has not even decided when it will discuss the LPA. I expect that both sides will reject the existing LPA but neither side wants to be the first to do so because it will be condemned by the UN and many in the international community. In a joint statement France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Britain and the U.S. endorsed the agreement in a joint statement: "Delays in forming a unity government will only prolong the suffering of the Libyan people and benefit terrorists seeking to take advantage of the chaos."
Both the pro-HoR Libya Observer and the pro-HoR Libya Herald have posted articles expressing views critical of the LPA. The Observer has an article that describes the LPA as an attempt to revive the HoR which it describes as dead or dissolved since the Libya Supreme Court Last November ruled that elections for it were unconstitutional and it should be dissolved. An opinion article in the Observer rails against the HoR claiming that it was better to let the HoR unilaterally extend its mandate than to sign on to the LPA: To be puzzled as we try to find an alternative solution for Libya’s crisis is a million times better than to sign a disgraceful alternative, yet for the parliament to extend its term by itself is also a lot better than for the honorable decent people to stain their hands by a signing that prolongs this criminal monster parliament.
There are dissenting voices on the other side as well. The Herald notes Abubakr Buera, a member of the HoR negotiating team, said Leon had crafted a plan "at the expense of the Libyan interest." He pointed out as well that Leon reneged on his promise to make no changes in the plan. He added a member to the presidential council and recommended the head of the new State Council. The LPA says that the body itself chooses the president. Abdurrahman Sewehli , who was recommended by Leon has been very critical of the LPA, and at one time the UN wanted to sanction him. He was not asked by Leon and refused to serve saying that it was up to the Council not Leon to elect the president. The Herald points out that Leon has managed to unite the HoR and the GNC on one issue, their opposition to his appointees.
Even if through some miracle or more likely pressure from outside Libya, the LPA is signed, it is not enforceable as long as Khalifa Haftar who commands the HoR government forces and the militia of the GNC do not agree to a ceasefire and accept the LPA. Haftar rejects it and is pursuing a military strategy called Operation Dignity, which started way back in May 2014. It continues to this day and means to rid Libya of all Islamists or at least those opposed to him, and that includes the militia and government of the GNC. Leon has not reported for months on what he calls the parallel military dialogue designed to create a ceasefire agreement and other arrangements for security and dismantling militias.
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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