By Sami Zaptia.
London, 13 January 2017:
A large group of eastern tribal leaders, elders, NGOs and political activists granted their full support for Presidency Council boycotting member Ali Gatrani as their ‘‘sole nomination and representative” for any future nominated Libyan government as a result of their trust in him and in view of his positions on supporting the army and security forces that are fighting terrorism’’.
The move, taken at an event in Benghazi yesterday, is seen as a pre-emptive move by Gatrani and his supporters in anticipation of the possible fall of Faiez Serraj as designated Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord (GNA) and head of the Presidency Council (PC) and a return to the earlier PC 1+2 format of one president of the PC and two deputies.
Gatrani is seen as Khalifa Hafter’s man on the PC and has in turn been boycotting the PC in opposition to article eight of the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) which would take away the leadership of the Libyan National Army (LNA) from Khalifa Hafter.
It will be recalled that the PC 1+2 format was the initial formula agreed to in UNSMIL-led dialogue led initially by Bernardino Leon, prior to the arrival of Martin Kobler. However, it is reported that, paradoxically, it was HoR president Ageela Saleh that insisted on changing it to the current format of five.
However, the present format has failed to work in spectacular fashion with PC member for the south Musa Koni resigning at the beginning of this month putting the whole LPA in danger of collapse.
Now, the HoR is pushing for a return to the 1+2 format. However, this entails a change to the 2015 Skhirat LPA. The LPA can only be changed by the Libyan Political Dialogue committee. The LPA in its full format last met in November 2016 in Malta. It had also met in Tunis in September and in July 2016.
A slimed down Libyan-only version of the Dialogue committee attempted to meet in Ghadames last Wednesday and is planning to meet in Tunis next Wednesday with the 1+2 format as one of the items on its agenda. It is yet to be seen if the Libyan-only Tunis meeting materializes or indeed succeeds without PC/GNA and international community support.