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Op-Ed: HoR again fails to vote on Libyan GNA due to lack of quorum

Today, March 8, the HoR again found itself without a quorum. Even though there was no quorum, those assembled condemned the visit of Prime Minister-designate of the GNA, Faiez Serraj, for attending an Islamic summit of leaders of Islamic countries. In a statement, the HoR group claimed the visit violated the 2011 Constitutional Declaration. Until the GNA is given a vote of confidence by the HoR, the Prime Minister of Libya was Abdullah al-Thinni. The HoR said the Presidency Council should be aware of that fact. However, the UN and the international community have been treating Serraj and others as if they were already actual officials for some time. The UN and the international community ignore legitimacy when it suits them. They want to show support for a government that does not exist yet. The HoR statement also noted any agreements signed by anyone not representing the HoR would not be binding upon Libya. Faiez was invited to the summit by the Indonesian government but it could be that the UN or other countries suggested to Indonesia that Faiez be invited.

President of the HoR, Ageelah Salah, also made a statement in which he claimed that any vote approving the GNA that took place anywhere but Tobruk would not be valid. He maintained that the city was perfectly safe and there was no reason not to hold meetings there. However, some earlier meetings have been disrupted and had to be suspended with no vote taken. It is not clear why there appears to be no proper security arrangements at HoR meetings with the result that those who do not want a vote can disrupt proceedings. Some members have suggested the HoR meet in the southeastern desert town of Al-Jufra. Others have recommended meeting in Benghazi. Salah claimed disruptions such as that preventing a vote late last month occur in many parliaments but they still hold meetings. However, he does not explain why such disturbances cannot be stopped.

Tobruk member of the HoR Talal Al-Mihoom claims the HoR has been forced to accept the Presidency Council of the GNA because of pressure from the international community. He accused pro-GNA members of being behind the failure to convene parliament meetings due to their absence. This might explain failures to vote caused by lack of a quorum. However, there have been meetings where many claim there was a quorum but voting could not happen because of disruptions. It is also a bit strange that the pro-GNA members of the HoR who are claimed to be a majority would stay away to avoid a vote. Mihoom’s explanation is: “There is a systematic approach to disrupt parliament meetings for fear of overthrowing the government.” Mihoom does not explain how a vote in favor of the GNA would overthrow the government. Perhaps he means there would be a military coup by Khalifa Haftar who does not want the LPA passed as long as it contains Section 8 that would see him lose his job on signing. Mihoom expressed his support for Haftar and warned that the future of the army was not negotiable.

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