HoR suspends Dialogue, rejects Presidency Council members
By Jamie Prentis and Moutaz Ali.
Tunis/Tripoli, 7 March 2017:
The House of Representative’s (HoR) voted to suspend its involvement in the Libya Dialogue process today. It also rejected Annex No. 1 of the Libyan Political Agreement which names the members of the Presidency Council.
The vote was reported to be 38 against the Dialogue, with just 56 members attending the debate. However, one HoR member present told the Libya Herald that there had been 80 members in attendance.
Despite the low vote and turnout, the session was quorate because when it started last week, 114 members were present.
Today’s vote came after several days, first, of indecision about the appointment of a 15-member team to negotiate amendments to the Libyan Political Agreement with a similar-sized one from the State Council. However, following Friday’s attack on Oil Crescent terminals by the Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB), indecision turned to outright opposition to action on dialogue at present.
By Sunday, some 73 HoR members were reported to be opposed to the appointment of a dialogue team and said to be boycotting the HoR session. Many were leading figures in the parliament, including Ramadan Shambesh (head of the constitutional and legislative affairs committee), Idris Al-Magharbi (head of the foreign affairs committee) and Essa Al-Aribi (head of the energy and natural resources committee).
The HoR had been under tremendous public pressure in the east to decide against dialogue as anger at the takeover of the Oil Crescent grew over the past few days. Many in Cyrenaica see themselves as under increasing threat and have rallying to what they see as the defence of the region.
On Thursday, a gathering of eastern tribes hosted by the Al-Wagir tribe is due to take place in Benghazi and it is expected to firmly reject the dialogue.
In also rejecting Annex No. 1, today’s vote means that as far as the HoR is concerned, no one is now a member of the Presidency Council. Faiez Serraj, Ahmed Maetig, Abdelsalam Kajman, Mohamed Al-Amari and Ahmed Hamza – all based in Tripoli –will ignore this. But it leaves Fathi Majbri and the two boycotters, Ali Gatrani and Omar Aswad, having to decide whether or not they are still members of the PC.