By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 1 January 2014:
The GNC has confirmed that 72 GNC members have tabled a motion to withdraw confidence in the Ali Zeidan government and to form a crises government.
The vote will take place on Sunday 5 January. This was confirmed by the publication late yesterday of the GNC’s agenda for Sunday next week – the GNC’s first working day of the week.
The vote of no confidence in the Ali Zeidan government will be the second item of the GNC’s deliberations next Sunday.
The first item under discussion will be the blockade of the oil ports in eastern Libya, a motion put forward by 23 GNC members.
The GNC had given Zeidan a deadline of a week on 17th December to resolve the oil crises. This deadline has now passed without any resolution to the oil blockade problem.
With regards to the vote of no-confidence in Ali Zeidan, this will not be the first time that some GNC members have attempted to bring down the current government. However, all previous attempts to vote against the government had failed at the early stage of the inability of the GNC to muster a quorum.
A vote to remove a government would need broad agreement across all political groupings, including the independents, as it would need to be passed by 120 votes.
It will be noted that in a major speech recently, the National Forces Alliance head, Mahmoud Jibril, indicated that removing the current government and forming a crises government was an option being discussed as one of a series of initiatives to get Libya out of its current political impasse.
Moreover, this initiative was received with positive overtures by the Justice and Construction party, which may indicate that the two largest parties within the GNC are looking as if they are reaching some kind of agreement on the next step forward. This may include sacrificing the Zeidan government in order to save the equally unpopular GNC.
The question is, as on the previous occasions, will the two largest parties be able to sway enough independent votes in favour of voting out the Zeidan government, or will enough independents “fail to turn up” at Sunday’s sitting in order to ensure that there is not an adequate quorum?
Moreover, up to now, GNC members seem to have been following the mantra of “better the devil you know” with the Zeidan government. It is believed that those who have desired to eject the Zeidan government have been unable to agree on an adequate replacement. A replacement that is broadly accepted, and who can necessarily do a better job than Zeidan.
There is debate as to whether the weakness of the government is a weakness of the Prime Minister Ali Zeidan personally, or a reflection of the weakness of the GNC itself, or that it is a systemic one – a weakness of the post revolutionary Libyan state as a whole.