(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
( Abdullah al-Thani-leader of the Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR)
In a statement on Saturday, the Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR)’s government’s Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani, stated that he would not hand over power to the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) until the HoR gives its vote of confidence.
Al-Thani stressed that his government will continue to perform all of its domestic and external activities and functions within its capabilities, reported Albawaba News.
“We will not hand over power to the unity government until it obtains the confidence of the House of Representatives and that of the international community,” said Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani in his statement on Saturday.
In addition, Aqilah Saleh, the President of the HoR, rejected the formation of the GNA’s operation room established by the Presidential Council (PC) to lead in the military operations against ISIS forces in the area between Misrata and Sirte.
Saleh insinuated that the PC could not act as the Commander in Chief of the Libyan Army because the HoR had not yet given its vote of confidence to the GNA, an act he believed could lead to civil war.
Saleh stated that the HoR’s military wing, led by General Khalifa Haftar, is the legitimate military body in Libya entrusted to liberate Sirte from extremist forces.
However, according to the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA), the eastern-based HoR was established as the GNA’s designated legislative body. It was given the responsibility to give its vote of confidence to the GNA’s Council of Ministers – the cabinet – and not the Presidency Council, a constitutional body formed by the LPA. As well, upon signing of the LPA the Presidency Council is required to assume the functions of the Supreme Commander of the Libyan Army – a function independent of the vote of confidence.
The international community’s expectation of the HoR’s vote of confidence has lessened with each day as it was never intended to be an obstacle. The HoR played an active role in the dialogue that led to the LPA and agreed to all of its articles. The vote was meant to be symbolic in respect to the role of the HoR within Libya’s political landscape, not a means of holding on to power.
Like the HoR, the General National Congress (GNC) has also been entangled in political disputes causing obstacles to the progress of the LPA. The EU and US have established sanctions against senior members of the HoR and the GNC.
Despite the HoR’s reluctance in endorsing the GNA, the unity government has moved forward despite the opposition and on Friday the GNA’s Presidential Council announced the establishment of a new military operation room to oversee the campaign against ISIS and more recently the establishment of a Presidential Guard.
In addition, since their arrival in Tripoli at the end of March, Sarraj and other leading members of his Presidency Council met with a number of foreign ministers, diplomats and leaders who have given their support to the unity government and expressed faith in the GNA’s ability to establish national resolve, security, and stability in Libya.
The HoR, which is under increasing pressure to endorse the unity government, has criticized visits between representatives from the GNA and other foreign countries.