Panafrican News Agency

Libyan newspaper slams parliament for consolidating the idea of two governments

Tripoli, Libya (PANA) - The latest plenary sessions of the Libyan Parliament have confirmed the legislative body's intention to dismiss the Government  of National Unity (GNU) and appoint another one, instead of working on a timetable for general elections, a Libyan newspaper said.

al-Wasat newspaper said that Parliament is thus accentuating the divisions and risks of "two governments", bringing the country back to "two-headedness".

In an article entitled "Parliament consolidates the two-government scenario", the newspaper wrote that divisions in the Parliament, during its last sessions, reinforced the trend of overthrowing the government of Prime Minister Abdelhamid al-Dbaiba, excluding the High State Council from consultations to form an alternative authority.

This appears as if it had announced a "divorce" between the two assemblies, which will put the country back to the "two-government scenario", while discussions on elections have been relegated to the background.

In early February 2021, al-Dbaiba was selected in Geneva, Switzerland, by the members of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) as the Prime Minister of the GNU on the list of the new Interim Unified Executive Authority.

The list included the Presidential Council, with Mohamed al-Manfi as its chairman and two deputy chairmen - Moussa al-Kouni and Abdallah al-Lafi - to lead the preliminary phase leading to general elections on 24 December 2021.

The UN Secretary General's advisor, Stephanie Williams, has said that the validity of the roadmap extends the mandate of the current institutions until next June, urging the parliament to focus on developing a clear timetable to hold elections as soon as possible.

"The parliament is not the only one working to end the authority of the Dbaiba government," said al-Wasat, a weekly newspaper published in Cairo, Egypt.

"It is rather also the quagmire of corruption into which his ministerial team has fallen one after another, providing a new pretext for opponents, at a time when Libya is ranked 172nd out of 180 countries in the list of the nine countries most affected by corruption, according to a report by Transparency International published last Tuesday."

The Libyan newspaper reported that within weeks, the Prosecutor General ordered the pre-trial detention of Health Minister Ali al-Zenati and his deputy, Samir Koko, for their involvement in financial and administrative corruption.

Similar charges were previously brought against Education Minister Moussa al-Mageryef and Culture and Knowledge Development Minister Mabrouka Othman Togui.

The decisions of Parliament headed by Aguila Saleh were a new indication of the collapse of the results of the Berlin, Tunisia and Geneva Conferences, the newspaper said.

It said that Parliament approved, during its session last Tuesday, 13 conditions to run for the post of next prime minister, including that of submitting a written commitment not to run in the next elections and to resign from any position in the state.

For the Arabic-language weekly, what further complicated matters was the parliament's tendency to form a government unilaterally, without the participation of the High Council of State.

Thus approach did not even unanimous in the plenary hall, after30 members voted against associating the Council and 20 for approval, while the Speaker had announced that the session was held with a quorum of 120 MPs.

Al-Wasat pointed out in its analysis that there are warnings from observers that it would be difficult to establish any "parallel government", if it is formed, nor to gain confidence of Libyans due to the problems of obtaining funding, given that the GNU currently controls the pillars of the Libyan economy, be it oil revenues or the Central Bank of Libya.

Speaker Saleh justifies his option, according to the newspaper, by the fact that "the most important thing now is the fate of the executive authority (government), because the citizen is hungry and does not care about the constitution or the law, or anything else".

In this context, Prime Minister al-Dbaiba, according to the newspaper, renewed his call to the parties to the political crisis to vote, as a first step, on the draft constitution finalised by the Constituent Assembly, as a basis for the electoral process.

The newspaper recalled that it was supported by 43 members of the Constituent Assembly who protested against the statements of the Speaker regarding the proposal to appoint a new committee to draft the country's permanent constitution, saying it a flagrant violation of the temporary Constitutional Declaration.

In a statement, they called on "all national and international bodies not to deal with or recognise the proposals of the Speaker of the House of Representatives", the newspaper reported.

The Speaker called for the formation of a committee of 30 experts to make amendments to the draft Constitution of 2017 as a prelude to a vote by popular referendum.

al-Wasat recalled that the Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General on Libya, Stephanie Williams, took the opportunity of her presence at the University of Sebha in the south to address the issue.

She called on the House of Representatives, the State, the Presidential Council and the Government of National Unity together, to assume their historical responsibilities, respect the will of the voters, reach an appropriate formula, and define a timetable and a clear political line towards the elections.

Ms. Williams said that the people cannot bear any more procrastination and move from one transitional stage to another.

In the same vein, the newspaper said that the US embassy in Libya aligned itself with the UN official saying that millions of Libyans are ready to vote and decide their future, and the time has come to respect their will.

The newspaper quoted Ms. Williamns as saying that "those who are fighting for the leadership of Libya must bear in mind that the Libyan people will only accept the leadership that comes out of the elections".

This situation, the newspaper concludes, overshadows the most important issue, namely the fate of the elections, which has been lost "in the fog of the political crisis evolving into complexity, due to the policy of obstinacy, personalisation and preponderance that characterises the performance of the bodies represented in the executive and legislative powers".

-0- PANA BY/JSG/SOC/BBA/MA 29Jan2022