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article imageOp-Ed: UN and most countries ignore results of negative vote in Libya

By Ken Hanly     Aug 24, 2016 in Politics
Tobruk - Finally after many meetings in which there was no quorum or no vote was taken due to disruptions, the Tobruk-based House of Representives (HoR) met and took a confidence vote in the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA).
There were said to be 101 representatives present at the vote with 61 voting against the GNA and just one for, while 39 abstained. The reaction of the UN was in part as follows: Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Martin Kobler welcomes the statement issued today by the Presidency Council (PC) and commends the resumption of the House of Representatives (HoR) sessions. In the entire response there is no mention of the negative vote except as part of the response of the Presidency Council of the GNA. You might think it has some importance and significance.
Back in February after an HoR meeting a majority of one hundred members signed a letter showing support for the GNA. That letter plus support from some Libyan Dialogue members led to the activation of the GNA and its move to Tripoli. The Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) requires a formal vote of confidence by the HoR before the GNA term starts. Now it is evident that the HoR has no confidence in the GNA. It is clearly illegal. This consequence is not worth mentioning by the UN. Nor is there the slightest attempt to explain how the vote could fail so miserably when Kobler has been complaining there is majority support for the GNA and only spoilers such as the speaker of the HoR, Ageelah Saleh are preventing the majority will from being expressed. Again, significant material not worth mentioning.
The statement of the Presidency Council (PC) commended by Kobler said that it accepted the vote by the HoR and would draw up a new list of ministers for approval. At the same time it claimed that it was in the public interest that current ministers continue in their present role until a new government was approved. The PC also said that the HoR played a crucial role in implementing the LPA. If the role of the HoR is so crucial how is the GNA able to begin its term without the approval of the HoR? The HoR has demanded that the PC present a new list of just eight ministers within ten days. Of course such deadlines may not mean much.
Two weeks ago the PC gave the two members who have been boycotting meetings a week to rejoin the group or be replaced. In their statement the PC is still pleading for them to rejoin. One boycotter, Ali Al-Gitrani, accuses the PC of acting as agents of foreign powers and says the PM, Faiez Serraj, should wake up from his "political coma". Al- Gitrani is close to General Haftar commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) associated with the HoR. Haftar opposes the GNA. Al-Gitrani wants Haftar not the PC to be army head of the GNA.
Kobler apparently changed his mind about what should be done: Backing for the Presidency’s position has come from UN Special Envoy Martin Kobler who had earlier tweeted urging “to work quickly on a GNA cabinet” to submit to the HoR. This, however, was then deleted and replaced by one saying that he fully supported the Presidency’s statement and its decision to work with the HoR and the State Council for urgent implementation of the Libyan Political Agreement. Both US Special Envoy Jonathan Winer and UK Ambassador Peter Millet tweeted support for the Presidency Council.
Kobler's statement said he supported holding broad consultations "with all political and civic actors and form a government representing a united Libya." He said: “The House of Representatives has a great responsibility. I call upon the HoR to endorse the GNA once the PC submits the new list of cabinet members according to the Libyan Political Agreement. I urge the HoR to remain within the framework of the LPA and Security Council resolution 2259 (2015).” We will see what happens within the next ten days. What has happened already is that the UN and the international community refuse to admit the obvious, that the GNA is illegal.
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 UNSMIL, Martin Kobler, Libyan Government of National Accord, Libyan House of Representatives
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