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Op-Ed: Former GNC headquarters taken over by State Council of the GNA

He also took control of buildings across the street that were used as accommodation and offfices by the president of the GNC, Nuri Abusahmain. The takeover shows the power of the GNC and the associated Salvation Government has been reduced to almost nothing. The State Council had met in Tripoli in early April, declaring itself the GNC. After passing a resolution in support of the GNA and amending the constitutional declaration of 2011, it dissolved the GNC supposedly and then met as the State Council. Sewehli was elected president. The president of the GNC was not present. The actual GNC met later at its headquarters and denounced the rival meeting. However, it appears that the GNC might as well have been actually dissolved since it appears to have no power and has now lost its headquarters without any resistance.

There were militia loyal to Abusahmain guarding the buildings. However, they put up no resistance and the road between the two buildings is now open. Abusahmain’s whereabouts are not known but he is thought to be still in Tripoli. Abusahmain made a statement condemning the takeover. He said militia loyal to Sewehli arrived at the headquarters early Friday morning. The defenders allowed them to seize the complex because they wanted to avoid bloodshed, according to Abusahmain. The head of security at the Rixos facilities, Omar Al-Ramli gave a similar account of events.

Other events show the continuing decline of the power of the Salvation government and the GNC. Already several ministries have been handed over to the GNA. The Transport Ministry has now been handed over to the PC of the GNA. Labour, Religious Endowments, Education, Housing, Utilities, Youth and Sports, and Social Affairs ministries have all been transferred to the Presidential Council. The Libyan Central Bank is cooperating with the GNA. If the employees at the ministries expect to be paid, they are much better off associating with the GNA. The transfers are taking place in spite of the fact that the GNA has never been given a vote of confidence by the House of Representatives. Under the regulations of the Libyan Political Agreement its term has not yet even begun. However, the GNA has bypassed any vote so far and has regarded a meeting of the Libyan Political Committee and a letter from an alleged majority of the HoR approving the GNA as a green light to start operations and even move to Tripoli. Although foreign affairs and interior ministries have not been turned over officially they are said to be already being run by Mohamed Siala and Arif Khojia respectively, who were appointed to run them.

The Libyan news agency LANA which was formerly loyal to the GNC Salvation government now supports the GNC and the PC. The ministers will be sworn in once all ministries are under GNA control. According to the Libya Herald the State Council considers itself now the country’s legislature: Meanwhile, in a move that is likely to be the cause of future conflict, the State Council, likewise yet to be approved by the House of Representatives, has taken over the former General National Congress buildings, presenting itself as the country’s legislature. According to the terms of the LPA the House of Representatives (HoR) is the sole legislative body of the GNA. The State Council is primarily an advisory body. That the State Council should claim legislative powers is in contradiction to the agreement. Members of the HoR will be outraged by this claim if it is true.

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