By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 2 October:
After releasing a press statement towards the end of the day yesterday that the meeting with the . . .[restrict]National Forces Alliance’s (NFA) Mahmoud Jibril did not materialize, Prime Minister-elect Abushagur tweeted on his twitter account early this morning that he and Jibril did after all get a meeting in at the eleventh hour last night.
It is not clear if Abushagur’s press release yesterday about the non-meeting with Jibril was a blame-laying ploy or a ploy to force Jibril into a meeting. Whatever Abushagur’s real intention was – it seems to have worked and succeeded in realizing the ultimate intended aim of securing a meeting.
It is understandable why Abushagur would use the press release ploy to force Jibril’s hand. Abushagur has a deadline of October 7 to present an acceptable government to the GNC or lose his job. Having promised to announce his government by the 30th of September and then by the 1st of October, Abushagur is under pressure and running out of time!
Equally, the delay in fulfilling a meeting by Jibril and the NFA could have also been a ploy to exert as much pressure as possible in order to extract as much out of Abushagur as possible.
Some in the NFA may have wanted the meeting not to happen and Abushagur to be sacked. Many NFA members are still smarting at what they see as the collusion of the Muslim Brotherhood bloc in particular and the rest of the GNC in general at stealing the prime minister-ship from the NFA and Mahmoud Jibril.
Remember, Jibril secured 86 votes to Mustafa Abushagur’s 55 votes and Awad Barasi’s 41 in the first round of voting in the GNC for the position of prime minister. In the second and final round Jibril was only able to attract another 8 new votes, taking him to a total of 94 votes. Meanwhile, Abushagur attracted another 41 new supporters in the second round to gain the winning total of 96.
The irony – an irony that Jibril and the NFA did not fail to notice – is that the new number of votes that Abushagur gained in the second round happened to be the exact number that the Muslim Brotherhood Justice and Construction member Awad Barasi had had. ‘Collusion’ and ‘conspiracy’ was a word used frequently by many defeated NFA supporters. ‘Sour grapes’ many neutral observers retorted in reply to the NFA.
But what would the reaction of the general Libyan public have been if either side was seen to be playing the destructive role? Neither side could afford to be seen as the side responsible for plunging Libya into even more uncertainty and instability.
Prime Minister-elect Abushagur definitely did not want to be blamed for not meeting Jibril and trying to include him in his government. After all, Abushagur had proclaimed that he wished to form a government of a broad coalition and of national consensus.
The NFA and Mahmoud Jibril too had to be seen to be trying at least to meet Abushagur half way. Many observers felt that Jibril was too demanding in asking that Abushagur adopt their policy programme. Jibril had offered his political programme and ultimately he had failed to gain the approval of the majority of GNC members.
Many NFA supporters still feel aggrieved that despite their majority of seats and overwhelming number of voter support (over 900,000 votes in total), yet they still neither got to head the GNC nor form the new government!
I would say to the NFA ‘welcome to democracy and welcome to politics!’ Who said that the moral majority always gets its way in politics? Often, as immoral as we may find that, it is all about gaining the technical majority that matters. Yes the NFA gained the most seats in the party section of the last general elections and yes they gained the most voter support across all the country.
However, the system was designed to favour the independents and using the list system. If another system, say the first-past-the-post system, was used, the results might have been totally different.
The democratic process does at times become more about the representatives and their personalities rather than the people they are supposed to represent. But on the whole this does not last and the representatives of the people, mindful of the next round of up-coming elections, correct their course in line with that of the electorate.
Who said that politics and even democratic politics is always clean, honourable and morally superior? The democratic model is far from perfect and democratic politics is often about deal-making. It is also, unfortunately, sometimes about the will of the people and the majority being undermined and not represented. But to date no-one has come up with an alternative model that has proved more popular in the long term.
In the final analyses, these were the rules of the game that the NFA agreed to play with. They played and nearly won. But they did not quite win and they must be big enough to accept the results.
As they say, you win some and you lose some. Jibril and the NFA must remember there is another election in 2013. They will get another chance to gain an overall majority then. Meanwhile, they must be seen by the general electorate to be playing ball. They must be seen to be putting the interests of the nascent nation first and above their party of personal interests, if they are to maintain the long term trust of the electorate. [/restrict]