Abdul Razzaq Al Aradi
Reality assessment: The parliament in Tubroq believes it was elected by the Libyan people in June 2014, that it legitimately came to power, and that it convened in a city other than the convention city for circumstances it justified. It passed many laws, declared war on terrorism, and believed the capital to be occupied by outlaw forces. The Conference in Tripoli, however, believed that the parliament members violated the constitutional declaration, that power had not been handed to it yet, and that it is the legitimate body. The resolutions of the constitutional court voided the parliament sessions in Tubroq, in addition to deciding that the law on the basis of which the council was elected, and all its effects, is void. The Conference moreover believed that the revolution is being subjected to an attempted armed coup attempt and that it must address this. Haftar declared the Karama Operation while he was still a retired general, and was reinstated months after the start of the Karama operation by the parliament in Tubroq that supported the Operation. The revolutionaries in Tripoli also announced the Libya Dawn Operation, to confront this attempted coup, from their point of view, and the Conference supported the Operation. The Libyan society became divided at all levels, political, social, cultural, media and military. We came to have two parliaments, two governments, two armies, the 17 February revolutionaries here, and revolutionaries there, we came to have MPs who are boycotting parliament, and conference members boycotting its sessions. The parties fought and the war took many lives and destroyed many enterprises. “No sound is louder than bullets” was the slogan of the times, and the people took sides. The suffering of the Libyan people increased, cities were destroyed, the number of displaced increased, life stopped, people led difficult lives and the economy almost completely collapsed. Terrorism found areas to expand, taking many lives and controlling a number of cities. Coerced kidnapping and theft became commonplace, organized crime prospered, and drug and alcohol traders became active, spreading their toxins among our unemployed youth as a result of the tragic circumstances. Borders became open, trafficking in persons became commonplace, and Libya’s sea became a pathway for death boats that carry immigrants to their death in cold blood.
(2) Dialogue and the fourth amended draft: Before this painful reality, and in view of the inability of any party to achieve total military victory, it has become clear that the solution is no longer a military one, and that a political solution is inevitable where the parties to the dialogue sit down together and reach an agreement that will put an end to the division and lead to a national unity government able to repair the damage, start the reconstruction, heal the wounds, and pave the way for comprehensive national resolution. The UN mission for support in Libya selected a spectrum of the Libyan society, including a delegation of Parliament and the National Conference, to reach an agreement that will put an end to the fighting and the division. After several rounds four drafts were issued, built on the premise that parliament is the legitimate body. The contested essential points in the draft are: government and sovereign positions; how are they appointed and how are they removed from office? The Libyan Army and security forces; are they to be re-established again or activated? Parliament and its previous laws; did the agreement establish it? Are its laws valid or void? State council; is it the national conference with all its members? Or is it a hybrid of the conference members and others? Before addressing the progress and setbacks in the fourth amended draft, an important matter must be raised which will optimistically view the new reality that we hope this draft or others will achieve for us. We must remove the dark glasses to see the reality for what it is. First of all, neither the National Conference nor parliament can create this reality unilaterally, as it pleases. There is another party on the other side with demands, and therefore, the demands of a party will be face to face with the demands of the other. Moreover, the joining of the boycotting parliamentarians, who are mainly heavyweights, and the change in the location of the parliament sessions, will release the revenues, and MPs can undertake their duties away from the pressures of war and reality, as well as the blackmail by some powers. Therefore, it will not be easy to achieve the 150 member mark, without a consensus based on a predominant national interest. In other words, the new reality will not have an “us” and a “you”, rather it will all be an “us”. It is also hoped it will be based on a consensus, on bringing together the parts, repairing the damage, comforting the widows and the orphans, rebuilding the cities and bringing back the displaced. All this work requires us to really be an “us”. Before going into the details of the draft we must understand that only the wise can achieve flexibility and anticipate the dangers facing the country to avoid them, while extremism is perfected by everyone. The extremists reject without offering solutions for the situation we are in. Beating the drums of war and accusing everybody of treason and weakness … that’s it.
(3) Back to the constitution: The greatest achievement of this draft is respecting judicial independence, its decisions and rulings. The draft in fact did achieve much when it amended Article 67 of the previous text which stipulated: “Parliament shall amend the constitutional declaration according to…” to read in the amended draft: “The constitutional draft shall be amended according to…”. This text left the matter to all those who believe they have the legitimacy to amend the constitutional declaration. It also left the matter to the constitutional department to do with the amendment what it believes to be a constitutional amendment. This was a major demand of the National Conference. Therefore, all the decisions of parliament are subject to appeals before the constitutional court if applied by Parliament. Thus, parliament must in fact begin again if it wishes to avoid challenges before the constitutional court. As for the national unity government, the Council of Ministers, which happens to be the Supreme Commander of the Libyan Army, is named by the parties. Its vote of confidence may be withdrawn only with the consent of 150 members. This is a large number and is almost impossible to attain, after a bill offered by fifty members, and obligating parliament to consult with the Supreme Council of the State. As for those occupying the seven sovereign positions (Central Bank, Audit Bureau, Monitoring and Anti-Corruption Bureau, Higher Commission for Elections, Supreme Court and Attorney General), after consulting with Parliament and the State Council, they can only be appointed or removed from office with the approval of 150 MPs. This is also not an easy task, in view of the return of the boycotters and the change in the convention location. The main dilemma is the issue of security institutions, namely the Libyan Army and the security forces. The most important point forgotten by those who exaggerated fears surrounding the draft is that all the legislation passed by parliament is void pursuant to the resolutions of the constitutional court, including the reinstatement of the retired General Bilqasem Haftar. Moreover, reactivating the Army does not mean the Army in its old form. There are large numbers of soldiers who took the side of the revolution and the Libya Dawn ranks in particular. The draft also stipulates allowing the revolutionaries who wish to return to the Army to do so. As for the security forces, there are scores of revolutionaries who have officially joined their ranks. An important task of the government is to rehabilitate this sector once again, both those who were in it and those who joined it.
(4) In all cases, the amended draft defined the Army and outlined its duties. It prohibited it from undermining the civil constitutional system, and for those who dare do go down this road, the people have found their way and will not allow a coup against the civil path and a return to oppression. The National Conference must try to improve the formation of the State Supreme Council as much as possible. Its negotiating delegation worked hard and for that it is appreciated, in view of the draft having been principally drafted with a unilateral vision. The draft insisted that Parliament is the legitimate body, and the Conference achieved great success when it insisted on maintaining the judiciary and the need to respect its independence, resolutions and decisions. As mentioned earlier, the Bosnian President Alija Izetbegović stood in Daitawan and addressed his people, “This is the best we could achieve”. I ask those who reject the draft in its entirety, what will you achieve for us by your rejection? Have you anticipated where you will lead us? In view of a painful reality, the suspension of people’s lives and livelihoods, the prevalence of terrorism and crime, the continued weakness of the Conference and Parliament, the division of what is already divided, the diminishing circle of supporters, and in view of an international bias that will be harsh this time around.