By Libya Herald reporter.
Tripoli, 8 July 2015:
The General National Congress has rejected the latest UN Draft peace draft as it stands . . .[restrict]and says that its delegates will not return to Skhirat unless UN Special Envoy Bernardino Leon agrees to discuss its amendments to it.
They did not say what the amendments were other than that they were connected to ensuring that the Draft respected the Supreme Court ruling last November and did not face any future challenges in court. They also alleged that Leon did not respect the Constitutional Declaration of August 2011 which, with its many changes, acts as the de facto constitution at the moment.
The proposed amendments to the Draft are believed to have been sent to him.
The demand that the Draft respect the Supreme Court’s controversial ruling would effectively scupper the part of it which has the House of Representatives continuing for up to two years as Libya’s parliament.
The GNC’s position, and that its supporters, is that the ruling annulled the elections to the HoR and that, as a result, it is still the country’s only legitimate parliament.
(The HoR’s view and that of its supporters and most of the international community is that the court ruling was made under duress. The HoR and its supporters also claim that the court session was improperly constituted, those who brought the case ineligible to do so, and that in any event the ruling dealt purely with the vote to accept the February Committee’s proposals on the issue on the election of a head of state, not on the later vote authorising elections to the HoR.)
Despite the GNC’s view of the court ruling, it was willing, when the first version of Draft 4 appeared a month ago, to accept the HoR as the parliament and 90 of its own members elected in July 2012 becoming members of a 120-member State Council (a sort of advisory upper chamber).
The approval was aided by the fact that, in the Draft, UNSMIL had taken account of the GNC’s views saying that support for the Supreme Court’s ruling need not get in the way finding a solution to Libya’s crisis.
But now, following amendments from the HoR reducing the State Council’s role, accepted by Leon, the GNC has decided that it no longer likes the HoR’s proposed role.
The Skhirat meeting is supposed to reconvene later this week. All the other delegates to it, who turned up last week, have already said they approve the latest amended Draft and are prepared to initial it, with or without the approval of the GNC.
It is thought that Leon will agree to discuss the GNC’s proposals in order to get its delegates back to the negotiating table. But to accept the GNC’s view of Supreme Court’s decision would be an impossibility. It would mean the HoR abandoning the Dialogue. A couple of independent delegates have already told the Libya Herald that they have almost had enough of it and are thinking of giving up.
That may be the GNC’s fall-back position. According to one ambassador who was at Skhirat on 28 June when delegates were handed the latest Draft, the head of the GNC’s negotiating team told him that the GNC might sit and wait until the HoR’s mandate expired in October. Then, he said, UNSMIL and the international community would have to start all over again to find a solution. [/restrict]