By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 3 August 2013:
Mahmoud Jibril’s National Forces Alliance (NFA) has announced that it has “suspended its political activities” within . . .[restrict]the General National Congress (GNC) and the government “until the passing of the constitution”.
The announcement was made by the NFA’s spokesperson Tawfiq Shahaiby at a press conference held within the GNC.
Shahaiby said that it would be left to individual NFA members within the GNC and the government to decide whether to continue as independents.
He also added that the NFA would rebuild itself avoiding any ideaologies and will attempt to participate in the building of a state where Libyans are equal in their rights and a state of the rule of law – that is yet to be born.
In July, the NFA had suspended its participation within the GNC for about two weeks – effectively withdrawing its members from GNC activity. The reason for this withdrawal by the NFA was in their view the slow speed with which the GNC was progressing in drafting the constitution.
However, the spate of violence all over the country that coincidently followed their withdrawal put the NFA in a poor light. It gave the impression to the general public that their withdrawal from the GNC was in fact contributing to the ineffectiveness of the GNC.
There is some truth to this, as many important votes within the GNC, such as budgets, require a quorum of 120 members, and the NFA’s withdrawal made this more unlikely to achieve.
As a result, the NFA hastily ended their withdrawal.
Now, the NFA has made a different type of withdrawal, effectively withdrawing what is referred to in the British parliament as the “whip”, or political support for its members, yet allowing them to continue to participate as independents.
This way, the NFA can express its political disapproval at the GNC and its activities, without being accused of being unpatriotic or of taking advantage of the current poor political situation and weakness of the GNC and government.
The NFA had won the most seats during the 2012 GNC elections, gaining 39 seats (or 62 per cent of the votes) out of the 80 seats available. Their nearest rivals, the (Islamis) Justice and Construction Party (J&C) won 17 seats.
However, quite a number of the so-called-independents voted into the GNC are in reality supporters of the NFA and the J&C party. [/restrict]