By Umar Khan.
Tripoli, 13 November 2013:
The Justice and Construction Party (J&C) has said that it supports moves to extend the General . . .[restrict]National Congress’ term of office beyond February. It says that it should cease to exist only when it has completed the work given it by the August 2011 Constitutional Declaration.
Under the declaration, Congress will cease to exist once a new constitution is drawn up by the Constitutional Committee and promulgated, and elections held for a new legislature. However, the declaration had anticipated that all that would have been achieved by February 2014.
The head of J & C party’s political department, Saleh Elmasmary, told the Libya Herald that there were issues about the extending Congress’ life, the idea of re-electing a new Congress to achieve the same objectives as the present one was impractical. It would slow things down, he claimed.
“There are many questions on the wording of Constitutional Declaration itself and it is not yet clear if the tenure ends before the task should be achieved by Congress. However, Congress should finish the work it was tasked to do as the current situation is very sensitive and the country may not be able to survive a wrong step.”
Dissolving Congress at this stage would create a vacuum and increase the present chaos in the country, Elmasmary insisted.
Referring to the current security situation, he also said that it was not yet clear if the elections for the Constitutional Committee could be held at present.
As to divisions between the different political parties, he claimed that in fact they respected and worked with each other, particularly when trying to counter the public view that such infighting was responsible for the current chaos in the country.
“There is regular contact between different parties. We recently met with the leadership of National Forces Alliance and there are other efforts too. It is important in a healthy democracy to maintain contact with all sides,” he stated.
Speaking about the performance of Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, Elmasmary hinted at a major shift in party policy. “We are part of the government and our position on the current government is very clear that it has so far disappointed the Libyan people. But the important thing here is not to bring it down but to stabilise the country.
“If there is a significant change and the governments starts doing real work on the ground than we will definitely support it.”