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article imageOp-Ed: UN's Kobler lauds work of Libyan Constitution Drafting Assembly

By Ken Hanly     Apr 22, 2016 in Politics
Bayda - The Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Martin Kobler has issued a press release welcoming the progress made on the latest draft constitution agreed upon in a meeting in Bayda on April 19.
The Constitution Drafting Assembly(CDA) met in Bayda after previous meetings in Oman. Kobler said:“I applaud the diligent effort, courage and commitment of all members of the Constitution Drafting Assembly in trying to forge agreement on a draft constitution that can serve as the basis moving Libya beyond the transition period, and building a new modern Libyan state, anchored in the principles of democracy and separation of powers, rule of law, and respect for human rights, including equality for all, and guaranteeing the rights of women and all components of the Libyan national identity."
He encouraged all the members of the Assembly, including those not participating in the meetings over the last few months, to work together to uphold "the higher national interest of Libya." Kobler said: “Boycotting is not an option, boycotters should join the assembly and defend their opinion”. Whether Kobler likes it or not, there are a number of people boycotting the meetings of the CDA. Kobler said: “Any future referendum on the constitution must be an opportunity for the Libyan people to demonstrate their clear and unequivocal support of the fundamental pillar that will govern their country. This must be the cornerstone principle guiding the constitution making process.” As usual, Kobler leaves many important aspects of the situation out of his release, especially those that contradict his rosy outlook.
There were several meetings of the CDA in Oman. I wrote an article at the time which noted that there did not seem to be enough members present to pass any resolutions. A number of representatives had been boycotting the meetings and others objected to going to Oman when there could have been meetings in Libya. All Kobler has to say about this is that boycotting is not an option. It appears that it is not an option because the CDA has just rewritten the rules.
An article in the Libya Observer reports that a number of the boycotting members claim all the CDA meetings held in Oman and in Bayda "are illegal and a sheer violation of the constitutional declaration as well as the internal regulations of the CDA." A statement by the group said: “The CDA does not have the right or the authority to amend the quorum whatsoever because the amendment is one of the jobs of the legislative authority.” The Observer explains what happened: Over the last period, a number of CDA members have been holding consultation meetings in Oman, after which they announced an agreement on some of the disputed issues. Then, the CDA members came back and held a session in Al-Bayda, where they amended the internal regulations to allow lessening the quorum required for passing any item in the draft. This is just one more example where the UN sanctions breaking of the rules when there are difficulties preventing what they want done.
There have been many problems with the CDA. Kobler fails to mention any. The draft has been criticized by members of the Libyan judiciary. The chairperson an American was disqualified. Representatives of some tribes have also left the CDA. The UN will go ahead anyway.
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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