By Ahmed Elumami.
Tripoli, 22 August 2013:
The president of Congress Nuri Abu Sahmain has handed over to the Defence Minister, Abdullah Al-Thini, . . .[restrict]unspecified powers as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces to enable him to deal with the current security crisis.
Earlier reports that Thini had been made temporary Chief of Staff by Abu Sahmain were “wrong”, said Colonel Ali Sheikhi, the spokesman for the Chief of Staff, Brigadier General Abdulsalam Jadallah Al-Obaidi.
The transfer of Commander-in-Chief powers to Thini was necessary in the present circumstances, Congress Defence Committee member Jumaa Sayah told the Libya Herald. It would reduce procedures and meetings and enable him to be far more effective, Sayah added.
“The defence minister is a wise man and has experience which enables him to take the necessary decisions in a timely manner,” the Congressman said.
Congress has accorded the President powers to act in its name on 5 August when it is not sitting. However, his role as “Commander-in-Chief” is disputed by some Congress members although in past few days, Abu Sahmain has issued a number of decrees as such. Yesterday he ordered all military personnel to immediately join their units and also instructed them not to speak to the media without express permission.
“There were arguments among Congress members about appointing Abu Sahmain as Commander-in Chief,” said Congressman Sulaiman El-Haj, a member of National Security Committee”. It was not right that Abu Sahmain hold two top positions, he insisted.
Congress would discuss the matter next week, El-Haj added, saying that there is no an official designation regarding this.
“According to the Constitutional Declaration [by the NTC in August 2011], Abu Sahmain is the Commander-in-Chief so he decided to empower Al-Thini to accelerate the decision-making,” said Congressman Sayah – although there is in fact no specific mention as such in the Declaration.
However, Benghazi Congressmen Ahmed Langhi said that it was both logical and realistic that the head of the highest institution in the state be the Commander-in-Chief. The President of Congress is in effect Commander-in-Chief “whether the Constitutional Declaration states it or not, Langhi said.
According to Sayah, the Defense Committee believes that what Abu Sahmain is doing is right because it is in the citizens’ and the country’s interests. [/restrict]