By Sami Zaptia.
London, 28 July 2021:
According to a statement issued yesterday by Abdalla Belheeg, the Official Spokesperson of the House of Representatives (HoR), the HoR will hold a session next Monday (2 August).
Belheeg said the session will ‘‘complete’’:
- The 2021 budget law.
- The presidential election law and the parliamentary elections law.
- Approve the distribution of electoral districts throughout the country.
- Respond to the Presidency Council on its (unilateral) nomination of the position of the head of General Intelligence.
The HoR moving forward without the High State Council?
Commenting in his statement on developments in the political situation in the country, especially preparations for holding the elections next December, Belheeg affirmed that the HoR is ‘‘the only legitimate body in accordance with the constitutional declaration authorized to issue laws and legislation related to the affairs of the country, especially the upcoming elections.’’ He added that the HoR will fulfil its obligations in this regard in order to hold the elections on time.
Belheeg made no mention of the High State Council (HSC) or the Skhirat 2015 Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) that is still in force and stipulates that all major decisions must be taken by consensus between the HoR and the HSC.
Passing the budget needs a quorum of 120 members?
Belheeg added that HoR head Ageela Saleh emphasized to all members of the House of Representatives the need to assume their responsibilities and attend next Monday’s session.
At the HoR’s last session before Eid Al-Adha, it will be recalled, it was claimed by the HoR that there were less than 120 members and this was given as the reason there could not have been a vote on the budget.
Some critics suspected that the excuse of the quorum was used as a ploy to postpone voting on the budget until after Eid while the HoR extracted more concessions out of its political adversaries.
On the other hand, it could have been true as numerous HoR members failed to turn up the session after the HoR kept failing to pass the budget – for what they saw were unwarranted reasons.
HoR desire to vote on issues irrespective of quorum?
He also said Saleh had emphasized, ‘‘given the requirements of the public interest and the circumstances the country is going through, these entitlements will be accomplished and fulfilled by the attending members of the House of Representatives.’’
The implication here is that Ageela Saleh now wishes to pass these bills through – irrespective of a right quorum or consensus with the HSC.
It will also be recalled that the HoR Committee tasked with drafting the 2021 election laws is currently meeting in Rome until Thursday with the High National Elections Commission (HNEC) – in the presence of technical advisors from UNSMIL.
Head of Intelligence appointment
With regards to the Head of Intelligence appointment, it will be recalled that the Presidency Council had unilaterally announced (Decree 17/2021) on 6 May this year the appointment of the new Head of the Libyan General Intelligence, Hussein Mohamed Khalifa Al-Ayeb. He took over from Emad Trabelsi.
The HoR objected to what they saw as a unilateral appointment that did not consult them for their input. The controversy raises the question of the exact separation of powers and competencies of Libya’s various bodies.
For more analysis on the on the LPA and the need for consensus between the HoR and the HSC see: