Within minutes of Libya’s parliament, the House of Representatives (HoR), granting Prime Minister designate Fathi Bashagha and his government a vote of confidence earlier this afternoon, than calls of foul play were heard across various Libyan media outlets.
According to Ageela Saleh, 92 out of 101 members present voted in favour of the Fathi Bashagha government.
However, appearing on mostly anti HoR Libyan media outlets, at least two HoR members claimed that it was impossible for them to have voted at today’s session as they had not travelled to Tobruk to attend the vote in the first place. Moreover, one member claimed as many as 70 members had not travelled to the session. It has not been possible to confirm this at the time of publishing.
During the call out of ‘‘confidence’’ or ‘‘no confidence’’ in today’s HoR confidence granting session, no more than 88 or so calls of confidence could be heard. Often, the response of Members was inaudible and the cameras covering the event live often did not show to respondents. Reviewing the recording of the session, it was difficult to double check the vote.
What is an electronic vote?
Attempting to explain the discrepancy of votes, the HoR Media Office told local media that several HoR members had voted electronically. When it was pointed out that the HoR in Tobruk was not equipped to receive electronic voting, the Media Office said methods such as WhatsApp, Viber and Messenger were used. Critics said these do not qualify as ‘‘electronic voting’’.
Another explanation was that several members in western Libya had received threats from unnamed western/Tripoli based militias preventing them from voting in favour of Bashagha. The HoR refused to name them citing security reasons and so far, none had appeared on media stating they had been threatened. It used the same reasoning for not showing their faces on camera during the vote.
Calls for list of votes to be published
There are now calls on the HoR to publish the list of members they claim had voted in favour of the Bashagha government to end speculation and what defenders of the HoR are calling a disinformation campaign by the opposition – including the incumbent Aldabaiba government.
The vote that brought Aldabaiba to office was questionable too?
However, the response to claims of foul play by pro-HoR supporters is that the current Abd Alhamid Aldabaiba had too used foul play in the Geneva Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) vote that brought him to power.
Ageela Saleh has a track record of manipulating HoR vote counts
This is not the first time that Ageela Saleh has orchestrated a dubious vote within the HoR. The Aldabaiba government accuses the HoR of faking its own vote of no confidence. Saleh also completely bypassed the HoR last year when he wanted to pass the 24 December 2021 election law. He has a track record.
In other words, cheating and faking votes and results in Libyan politics has now, sadly, almost become the norm. This is more the case in the absence of a permanent constitution and an operating constitutional court.
This is further evidence, if any is needed, that Libya urgently needs to hold elections to renew the political mandate and legitimacy of its governing institutions.