By Hadi Fornaji.
Tunis, 22 September 2016:
Yesterday’s announcement by the State Council’s leadership that it was taking over the legislative powers of the House of Representatives (HoR) has been heavily criticised as provocative and an escalation of the current crisis by members of Council itself as well as by UN Special Envoy Martin Kobler and, not surprisingly, by members of the HoR itself.
State Council member Belgassem Igzeit, who like Council President Abdulrahman Sewehli is from Misrata, has described the move as an escalation of the current divisions and as such unacceptable.
For his part, Martin Kobler, in a series of tweets, has said that he is “concerned” about the decision and that the HoR remains the legislative authority. There can be no unilateral action, he insisted “politically or on the ground”, adding that the “fragile situation should not be exploited”.
Using stronger language, both the HoR Deputy President Emhemed Shouaib and HoR spokesman Abdullah Bulaihak described the State Council move as a “coup”. Shouaib, who headed the HoR team to the UN-brokered Libya Dialogue, similarly referred to it as an escalation of the Libyan crisis which did nothing for dialogue.
Sewehli should be ignored, he said.
Bulaihak accused Sewehli of attacking the basic principles of the LPA which set out the HoR as the sole legislature.
So far there has been no comment from the Presidency Council.
State Council member Igzeit is currently also at odds with Sewehli over his recent visit along with two other State Council members to Beida for talks with members of the former GNC who were not allowed to joined the State Council and who have since formed a parallel council in Benghazi. Sewehli wants action taken against the three.