By Nihal Zaroug.
Tripoli, 15 July 2013:
Tomorrow should see the final vote on the election law for the Constitutional Drafting Committee.
A call . . .[restrict]on the General National Congress (GNC) Facebook page, has requested all Congress members to be present. A vote to appoint a GNC rapporteur will also take place.
On 8 July, the GNC passed 50 out of 53 articles of the draft law but could not come to an agreement on two fundamental articles, GNC spokesman Omar Hmaidan said in a press conference following the voting session.
According to Hmaidan, these two articles relate to four key issues: type of electoral system, quotas, representation of special factions and the distribution of seats within districts.
Hmaidan explained that, aside from the independent congress members, pressure groups within the GNC’s five main blocs could not reach a compromise and pass the contested articles. These articles concerned women, Amazigh, Tebus and Tuaregs, groups which each brought different perspectives on quotas, reserved seats and the election mechanism.
On the representation of women, Hmadain pointed out that some viewed quotas as “positive discrimination” and completely rejected their use, while others argued that only six seats ought to be reserved for women. The women’s bloc, which had demanded 15 seats, abstained from voting when fewer seats were offered.
According to Libyan Women’s Platform for Peace and a coalition of Libyan civil society organisations, the last set of Congress negotiations ended with a possible 10 seats for women. These would be geographically divided as follows: four seats for the Eastern Region, four seats for the Southern Region, and two seats for the Western Region. However, these seats are being proposed on the condition that a zipper list voting system be used, which could then lead to greater representation not only for women, but also youth, cultural groups and those with special needs.
The High Council of Libyan Amazigh said on 10 July that it would boycott the constitution assembly elections because it was dissatisfied with the level of representation proposed. It requested its members to withdraw from the GNC. Allocated seats were only a “formality” the High Council said, and so cultural and linguistic rights could not be guaranteed in the new constitution.
Hmaidan cautioned against further delays in passing the law, as it was continuing to affect “civil peace and national security.” Concessions had to be made to reach the quorum of 120 votes, he said.
A full attendance will be needed for tomorrow’s voting round to avoid a repeat of last week, where articles that had been agreed upon, now needed a majority vote to be passed. [/restrict]