By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 18 January 2014:
Speaking at last Tuesday’s press conference on Libya’s current political impasse, Zeidan, admitted that the . . .[restrict]GNC is coerced by the threat of force into passing, or not passing, certain laws.
Zeidan, with a certain hint of irony, also indirectly admitted that his continued presence as head of the executive is due largely to the Transitional Constitutional Declaration (TCD) of August 2011.
The TCD is the current political roadmap or social contract between the Libyan citizens and their ruling class.
Zeidan admitted, in his very own somewhat difficult to comprehend style where he speaks in incomplete sentences requiring the listener to join the dots, admitted that “Many of the things that were arranged in the (Transitional) Constitutional Declaration created an imbalance in the institutions of the state”.
“I am not accusing anyone of their (poor) efforts in the early stage of the revolution (referring to the authors of the TCD). These efforts perhaps did not include the (necessary) arrangements (or legal procedures within the TCD) such as the issue of the need of 120 (members for a quorum) or 134 votes”.
Zeidan was referring to the number of votes and quorum needed to pass certain measures such as the appointment or vote of no confidence in a Prime Minister or budgetary issues. “I hope a solution is reached resolving the problems facing the government”, he added.
The hint of irony in what Prime Minister Zeidan was saying was that Zeidan was probably intending to gently chide the GNC for its poor performance and slow progress in passing measures, and especially measures such as budgetary acts that require 120 votes. However, it is this very constitutional requirement of a quorum and 120 votes that is keeping Zeidan in power.
The problems that the government is facing that Zeidan was referring to, include GNC approval of a Ministerial reshuffle, including appointing a Minister of Interior which has been vacant for months, as well as allowing the government to spend money already assigned to one chapter within the budget on other areas such as wages.
This budgetary problem has of course been caused by the shortfall in state revenues due to the Ibrahim Jadran oil ports blockade in eastern Libya.
Surprisingly, or maybe not so surprisingly, Zeidan, the head of the executive, went on to engage in further public chiding of the GNC, his political masters and the body that elected him and could any day remove him.
“The Congress is also suffering from problems related to attendance. Members are threatened and are forced to vote on resolutions they do not want”, before quickly attributing the statement to GNC members by adding “according to some members”.
Zeidan then goes on to openly and plainly raise doubts on the legality of some GNC laws, the most obvious of which is the Political Isolation Law, by saying that this reported coercion on members “impairs the legality of the decisions taken by the state”.
Zeidan then goes on to appeal for support for the GNC, saying that “all must accept or take their responsibilities in supporting the GNC to reach its goal”.
One possible explanation for Zeidan’s public attack of the GNC could be to deflect some of the criticism he is currently receiving while a vote of no confidence in him is being discussed.
The GNC has been under pressure now for months through peaceful and sometimes not so peaceful demonstrators and blockaders in an attempt to end both its and the government’s term in power.
“Everyone should know”, the Prime Minister continued, “that the possible (that the government can achieve in a transitional stage and short period of time) is limited, whatever capabilities the government uses at this time, due to the unfavorable circumstances”, the Prime Minister explained.
“We should all cooperate through dialogue, understanding and good appreciation. The government is not saying this in order to continue (in power)”, he assured, but quickly added “and if we are given an opportunity (to continue in power) we will be thankful for this, but we cannot leave the country in a state of vacuum”, he concluded, stating his ultimate and repeated justification for refusing to give up office.
Meanwhile, the undecided and disunited GNC continues into a third week to chew over a vote of no confidence in the committee rooms and corridors, unable to find a compromise that would take the motion to the voting floor. [/restrict]