(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
For weeks HoR members have been delaying the vote of confidence for the Presidential Council due to internal forces calling for the repeal of Article VIII after months of negotiations that resulting in the historic Libyan Political Agreement.
At a time when members demanded the Parliament of Tobruk insist on the removal of Article VIII, a majority of HoR members issued a statement in support of the Government of National Accord (GNA), a move that received international community reinforcement.
Despite the unprecedented attendance of more than 150 HoR members since the election of the Parliament in June 2014; the House of Representatives failed in holding a session to discuss some of the national issues including the vote of confidence for the GNA.
Members of the parliament described being impaired to perform their basic legal rights due to the “bullying” by influential members and external forces to the extent of physical threats. Opposition who are delaying the vote are amongst those anti-GNA voices and other Haftar-allies from outside the parliament.
Opposing forces are insisting that Article VIII be repealed from the LPA that requires that all powers of the senior military, civil and security posts stipulated in the Libyan legislations and laws in force shall be transferred to the Presidency Council of the Council of Ministers immediately upon signing this Agreement.
Members supporting the GNA and the democratic path forward for Libya have warned that the parliament session will need to be moved outside the city of Tobruk to allow members to participate without being concerned for their safety and threats.
Despite the chaos that is taking place within the HoR, the HoR members issued a statement that emphasized on giving the confidence to the Government of National Reconciliation. Out of fear they stressed on repealing Article VIII of the additional provisions of the political agreement.
Martin Kobler, ambassadors and diplomats welcomed this statement and praised the courage of the members of Parliament to endure their responsibilities despite the pressures they have suffered.
However, the time for repealing articles in the LPA is long gone and it is not the prerogative of a single entity such as the HoR to demand such changes. Any amendment to the terms of the agreement must be made in consultation between the HoR and the Supreme Council of the State. In fact, the second deputy chairman of the Supreme Council of the State, and one of those signatories of the dialogue on the political agreement on December 17, Mohammed Mazb, said that the declaration of the members of the HoR, related to repealing Article VIII of the political agreement, is illegal.
But why has Article VIII became so important to HoR members and a reason to stall the way forward for Libya?
Opposition members of the HoR are ready to vote if Article VIII is removed because this mean effectively maintaining General Haftar in control of the Libya’s army under the new unity government. He has his eye locked onto the Ministry of Defense and is willing to maintain control at all costs.
But all political leaders involved in the dialogue have stressed that no party is allowed to modify the political agreement unilaterally, and that any amendment to the agreement must be done by consensus among the parties.