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article imageOp-Ed: Rival Libyan governments unite in opposing UN-backed GNA

By Ken Hanly     Mar 19, 2016 in Politics
Tripoli - The internationally recognized House of Representatives (HoR) in Tobruk and the rival General National Congress (GNC) based in Tripoli agree on one important issue — they both reject the UN-brokered Government of National Accord (GNA).
The HoR government of PM Abdullah Al-Thinni said that untll the HoR gives a vote of confidence in the GNA it remains in office. He warned that any attempt to impose the GNA on Libya without the formal vote of confidence risks aggravating the already-chaotic political and economic situation while provoking further splits in the country.
Al Thinni is a bit behind the times, since the GNA has in effect accepted a statement allegedly signed by a majority of the HoR as equivalent to a vote of confidence. The GNA declares it is now the sole legitimate government in Libya and is moving to Tripoli to start operating there.
The threat of divisions was evident at a demonstration in Benghazi in Kish Square. The demonstrators demanded that the HoR reject the GNA of PM-designate Faiez Serraj. They want the HoR to appoint a military council headed by Khalifa Haftar to govern Libya. A government headed by Haftar would be anathema to most in the GNC. Haftar started the military Operation Dignity back in May of 2014 to rid Libya of Islamists, including those in the rival GNC and the militia supporting it. The demonstration was organized by Pro-Haftar supporters and announced on Rasmiya TV which also supports him. Army and police units guarded the demonstrators and air force helicopters flew overhead.
The HoR also condemned the call of the GNA presidency for Libyan state institutions to deal with the GNA directly. The HoR claimed that this is a violation of Libya's legal and constitutional norms. According to the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) there must be an amendment to the Constitutional Declaration of 2011 to incorporate the GNA into the constitution. This would be done through the HoR. While saying that the HoR supports the Libya Dialogue, the HoR claims the GNA has no legal status at present. A key provision of the LPA is that there be a formal vote of approval in the HoR as well as the constitutional amendment.
According to Reuters, the HoR said that without the formal vote for the GNA to take power would be "an abuse of Libyan sovereignty and a lack of respect for the democratic process." The statement went on: "It will deepen the Libyan crisis and the economic situation, increase division, and shatter the political accord built on consensus," French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said that he told PM-designate Fayez Serraj on Friday that France was willing to provide help to secure the GNA.
The GNA claims it has made security arrangements in Tripoli and will move there within days. However at least one collection of militia groups, The Libya Revolutionaries Operations Room, has threatened any attempt of the GNA to come to Tripoli with a "long war." The GNC as well has warned the GNA that it is not recognized in Tripoli and warned it against trying to enter Tripoli. Khalifa Ghwell, PM of the GNC said: "We say it has no place among us." He claims the GNA was imposed from the outside and that the GNC would never let in a leadership installed by the UN.
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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