By Sami Zaptia.
London, 23 February 2021:
The House of Representatives (HoR), the internationally recognized Libyan parliament headed by Ageela Saleh and based in Tobruk, has started preparations to hold a special session in Sirte to endorse the soon-to-be presented Government of National Unity (GNU).
The news was revealed by HoR Official Spokesman Abdalla Belheeg on Sunday who stated that this comes on the back of what was approved by the HoR in its session held on the 15th of this month. He did not reveal a date for such a reunified session.
Belheeg explained that the 5 + 5 Joint Military Commission (JMC) has been contacted regarding securing the city and holding an HoR session there, adding that the Committee formed by the head of the HoR’s administration, Abdulla Al-Masry, began its work Sunday morning by meeting several local authorities in Sirte, including the Executive Council and the security services in the city.
Missed Sabrata deadline
Sunday’s (21 February) announcement by the Tobruk HoR means that today’s deadline (23-24 February) set by the Ghadames/Sabrata bloc of HoR members has passed without the HoR succeeding in holding a reunified session in Sirte.
It will be recalled that the Ghadames/Sabrata bloc meeting in Sabrata from 14-15 February concluded the following:
- To hold a session in Sirte on Monday and Tuesday (23-24 February) after communicating with the 5+5 Joint Military Commission which must confirm within 24 hours if the meeting can go ahead in Sirte. If this is not possible, the meeting will be held in Sabratha.
- To invite the heads of the Tripoli and Tobruk HoRs to attend the session, and in the event that they are absent, the session will be chaired by the oldest members, with a pledge to abide by the agreed agenda.
- The agenda scheduled for the next session is:
a/ The re-election of the HoR head from a member from the South, according to the Cairo Declaration.
b/ The adoption of the outcomes of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) held in Geneva.
and the discussion of mechanisms for giving confidence to the Government of National Unity (GNU).
c/Approving amendments to the internal regulations, including adding the parliamentary session.
- Call on all HoR members to put the nation first by attending the Sirte session on the agreed date.
It will be recalled that the HoR meeting held in Tobruk on Monday 15 February under the chairmanship of Ageela Saleh commanded about 20 members. The Sabrata meeting attracted 97 members.
Contested legitimacy: reduced effectiveness, security and basic service delivery
It will now be seen if the Sabrata bloc go ahead with their threat to hold a separate session and totally ignore the Ageela Saleh bloc. If they do go ahead, this would not constitute a reunified HoR and would raise all the obvious questions of the contested legitimacy of such a session.
Such questions would continue the trend since 2011 of the contested legitimacy of Libya’s transitional governments which have reduced their effectiveness in enforcing policy, controlling militias and delivering basic services.