By Moutaz Mathi
Tripoli, 21 September 2016:
The State Council has declared what is calls the “non-existance” of the House of Representatives (HoR) as envisaged by the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA). As a result, it says, it will take over full legislative authority until the HoR succeeds in holding a quorate session.
It claims that it is acting in accordance with articles nos. 16, 17 and 18 of the LPA.
According to State Council’s second deputy president, Mohamed Mazaib, the State Council was obliged to take the action because the HoR’s president, Ageela Saleh, has been helping the military to take power in Libya.
A military takeover, he said, had become clear with Khalifa Hafter’s Libyan National Army replacing elected mayors by military officials. As a result the State Council was compelled to assume legislative power.
Speaking at a press conference at the State Council’s offices opposite the Rixos Hotel, Mazaib, accompanied by the Council’s president Abdulrahman Sewehli and first deputy president Saleh Makhzoum, also claimed the refusal of the HoR to approve the Government of National Accord (GNA), had resulted in Libyan citizens suffering from serious economic hardship and a complete lack of security.
For his part, Sewehli, while insisting that the LPA presented the only viable solution to the Libyan crisis and that everyone must adhere to it, called on Libyans to close ranks and resist the military’s attempted coup. Libya’s western allies, he said, also had a role in ensuring that “some countries” are prevented from interfering in Libya’s affairs.
At the same time, however, he said the Council was determined to prevent any deterioration of the security situation in Tripoli. He also rejected any attempt by the HoR to change any part of the LPA.
In recent days, the HoR’s military governor for Cyrenaica, Major-General Abdul Razzaq Al-Nazhuri has sacked four mayors and replaced them with military figures. However, despite the State Council’s claims, no article of the LBA in fact authorises the State Council to assume the HoR’s powers.
The Statement by the High Council of State issued in Tripoli today, September 21st, 2016
The High Council of State declares the following:
- Due to the sensitivity of the stage and the non-existence of the House of Representatives (HoR) as established under the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA), the High Council of State (HCS) is forced to exercise all the powers set out in the LPA until the HoR is convened in accordance with articles 16, 17 and 18 of the mentioned agreement.
- The HCS appeals to the majority of the members of the HoR who have agreed to the political agreement, and designated the First Deputy Chairman of the HoR to sign the LPA on December 17th, 2015 in Skhirat to abide by this signature and hasten to hold a correct House session in accordance with the articles referred to above.
- TheHCS calls on the Presidency Council to provide all the necessary support to the members of the HoR to convene their session in a safe place.
- The HCS calls on the Presidency Council of the Government of National Accord (GNA) to continue its work and embark immediately on the formation of its cabinet, and announcing it, after consultation with both the High Council of State and members of the House of Representatives who approved the Libyan Political Agreement.
- The Presidency Council of the Government of National Accord must continue to exercise its powers as the Supreme Commander of the Libyan Army. Expediting the organization of the military establishment, naming its commanders, calling all the forces affiliated with the Chiefs of Staff and the Defense Ministry of the GNA to secure the areas under their control, particularly the capital city of Tripoli, and responding firmly to any attempt to undermine security and stability in the capital are among such powers.
- Calling upon the United Nations Support Mission in Libya to follow up the implementation of the Libyan Political Agreement, and not to associate that with the approval of the President of the House of Representatives, who is sanctioned by some countries, and who is rejecting the LPA and its outcomes. It is also necessary to overlook the opposing minority composed of some HoR members as obstructers of the LPA.
- Calling on the international community to prevent the attempts of some countries from aborting the political agreement and urging them to refrain from interfering in the affairs of Libya; such interference reached an extent where some states provided military support to the so-called Dignity Operation, in a flagrant violation of the Security Council resolutions on Libya; most recently Resolution No. 2259.
- While the Bunyan Marsous forces are achieving progress and sacrificing martyrs every day for the sake of the homeland, and are about to announce the liberation of Sirte from the terrorist organisation of the Islamic State, we are surprised that there are seditious and bellicose people threatening to storm the capital, Tripoli. Consequently the High Council of State is calling upon all the revolutionaries and noble people of Libya who are supporting “legitimacy” to close their ranks, unite their efforts, and overcome their differences to resist the military coup, and move forward to build a State of law and institutions.