By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 5 May 2013:
In another heated session at the GNC, the vexing and controversial Political Isolation Laws was finally passed this evening. The session opened with 157 members present, but half way through the GNC head announced that members present had increased to 163.
The law, that has been pushed for very hard by some political figures, the youth and the thuwar (militias), will prevent all those who held high political office under the Qaddafi regime from holding any high positions in the post-Qaddafi era for ten years.
This evening’s GNC session started off acrimoniously as certain GNC members attempted to disrupt proceedings and open up each individual articles of the law to debate. Acting GNC head today, in the absence of Mohamed Magarief, Juma Ateega was adamant that no member would be allowed to speak and insisted, as per a prior reached agreement by the majority of members, that today’s session was set purely for voting.
The most resistance to voting centred around article one of the law, which listed which posts held under the Qaddafi regime would lead to future exclusion. This article attracted only 115 votes of the 157 members announced present at the time. Most other articles attracted over 150 votes.
Article one stipulated that any person who held a position as prime minister, minister, the revolutionary guards, ambassadors, deans of universities, heads of university departments, heads of local councils, members of the Green Book promoting agencies, heads of security agencies, army, police, heads of students unions, heads of special courts, heads of Qaddafi’s media organs and anyone who was opposed the February 17th Revolution – is to be barred from any future high positions.
Article 2 of the new Political Isolation Law stipulates that a new authority, the Political Positions Standards Implementation Authority is created whose members are chosen using laws used to appoint judges. Members of this authority have legal immunity.
Article 11 stipulates that the authority votes on members on a half-plus-one basis and it has to report its decisions within 21 days. Article 12 gives the right of appeal within 10 days. Article 14 disallows members of this authority from revealing any information about people referred to it.
Article 15 stipulates that anyone wishing to apply for a high position must complete this authority’s relevant forms for processing by it. Article 16 stipulates that members of this authority must also pass this law.
Article 17 sets the penalties for anyone who either puts forward false information or prevents information from coming forward to this authority.
Article 18, and one of the most controversial and most fought over articles, sets the time limit for barring a person from high office if disbarred by the authority at 10 years.
Many hawks, such as the youth and thuwar wanted this period to be longer. Moderates, fearing that the law may give the impression of revenge-seeking, wanted it set at 5 years.
Article 18 nearly brought proceeding to a halt as one particular member insisted on being given the floor to speak. It took a group of members a few minutes to calm both him and the GNC acting head Ateega.
This article stipulated that with the passage of this law, it annuls the Integrity Commission. This is the current body tasked with filtering “supporters” of the former regime from high positions. Acting GNC head Ateega, shouting at the top of his voice, was at pains to explain that the Integrity Commission would only be annulled once the new authority comes into effect. He also tried to explain that there could not be two bodies implementing the same speciality.
Article 19 stipulates that this law comes into effect after 1 month of its passage, which was today’s date, 5 May 2013.
At the end of the vote, no total was announced but this writer counted 5 GNC members who voted against, with no abstentions and an overwhelming number of votes for.
With the passage of this vote, it is hoped that Libya will pass its current political crises, which ostensibly was caused by the demand of the youth and the armed thuwar or militias to have this law passed speedily.
(This article was written live and some details were missed. As soon as the GNC posts the new law Libya Herald will publish more details)