By Saber Ayyub.
Tripoli, 9 November 2015:
The Constitutional Drafting Assembly, which last month was supposed to be deciding the very last of . . .[restrict]the 211 articles in its proposed constitution, suddenly seems very far from agreement.
Nine members have called for the resignation of CDA president Ali Tarhouni, while delegates from the west of the country are boycotting sessions in protest at demands from their colleagues from the east.
Tarhouni’s departure is being demanded because it is being claimed that after 18 months, he has failed to oversee the creation of a constitutional deal but has operated as a one-man band.
“The Presidency has executed monocracy in running the assembly” Abdulqadir Azuz, CDA member from Benghazi told the Libya Herald, “ It has tried to marginalise the role of members and bend their will in accordance with its desires”.
Azuz continued, “We have given the president many chances to reform his policy but now I think it is the time to elect a replacement”.
Tarhouni told this newspaper in September that he had never imagined that the ask of drawing up a new constitution could be so difficult. It was indicated at the time that there was one single issue to be decided, whether there the capital should remain Tripoli or ministries and institutions shared with Benghazi as in the 1951 and 1963 constitutions.
The CDA gathered in Ghadames last month for what was billed as the final debate to settle the issue. In the event, not enough CDA members turned up to make the session quorate and after four days the meeting was abandoned. Only 44 of the 56 delegates arrived. Decisions can only be made by a two-third majority. Everyone therefore returned to their base in the former parliament building in Beida.
Far from being close to being settled would appear that the issue of the capital or capitals has been the reef on which negotiations have grounded.
Alaa Drasy, the CDA spokesman has told this newspaper: “The dispute among members is mainly on the issue of the capital in which they have failed to find a compromise”.
The insistence by Cyrenaican members on two capitals, as in the two former constitutions, has rekindled fears among western delegates that this will be a step towards federalism and the country’s potential break-up. One demand from the east is that the executive should be based in Tripoli while the parliament be established in Benghazi.
Over and above this key dispute there are also claims of financial irregularities.
The nine CDA members who have signed a letter calling for Tarhouni’s ouster are:
1- Salahadin Abou Khazam
2- Abdulqadir Azuz
3- Dou Al-Mansori Awn
4- Mohamed Abdalla Lagha
5- Mohamed Belriuin
6- Al-Badri Al-Sherif
7- Abdulhamid Jibril [/restrict]