By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 4 August 2014:
The battle of wills between the outgoing head of the GNC, Nuri Abu Sahmain, and the . . .[restrict]new leadership of the House of Representatives continued right up to the end regarding the location of Saturday’s GNC-House of Representatives handover.
House of Representatives members have informed the Libya Herald that huge pressure has been brought to bear by a number of their members through unofficial and back channels to persuade GNC members and the GNC leadership to cede to House of Representatives’ demands to hold the handover ceremony in Tobruk, and not in Tripoli tomorrow.
The House of Representatives had called the GNC’s bluff by making the arduous trip and turning up in high numbers in Tobruk, which is 1,080 km from Tripoli. Many travelled over three days by car and plane via Zintan, Tunisia, Amman (Jordan), Cairo and Labrak airport at Beida.
However, the tug of war and brinksmanship between the legislative bodies continued as the capital and country teeters on the edge of total collapse. With the opposing militias fighting in Tripoli there is a possibility of a civil war erupting as a result of a political vacuum caused partly by the loss of legitimacy of the outgoing GNC. With a weak caretaker government in place, there is also the lack of a strong legitimate central body to provide leadership and make necessary but difficult decisions in order to get the country back on track.
At around 4.15 on Sunday, House of Representatives members reported that they had received an SMS message on their mobiles from the GNC office informing them that tomorrow’s handover ceremony would still take place on the previously announced date but in Tobruk, not Tripoli, as previously announced.
For a few hours at least Libyans breathed a sigh of relief as it seemed its politicians had pulled the country back from the brink of the possibility of a split parliament and two competing handover ceremonies.
However, about two hours later hopes of reconciliation were quickly dashed when the GNC put up a post on its English Facebook page saying that the handover ceremony would still be held in Tripoli and not in Tobruk – where about 90 percent of the newly elected legislature members were assembled.
However, the House of Representatives seem determined to go ahead with their official inaugural meeting today, with or without the participation of the GNC.
The Representatives also denied the claim circulating on some social media sites that Representatives were held against their will hostage in Tobruk and not allowed to travel to Tripoli for the alternate handover ceremony. [/restrict]