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HCS slams HoR’s ‘unilateral’ electoral law, says it’s meant to obstruct planned elections

In a unilateral step, the House of Representatives issued Wednesday a law regulating the presidential elections, overlooking calls to act in concert to ensure the country stays on the path of elections.

The High Council of State (HCS) had extremely though words when it came to the section in the Political Agreement that provides for the HCS and HoR to attain consensus before passing the electoral laws.

It said in a strong statement that the decision was imperfect and violates the Constitutional Declaration, the Political Agreement, the Security Council Resolutions, and the Parliament’s internal regulations, accusing it of attempting to usurp power and obstruct the planned elections.

“The local and international parties, including the UN mission and all the ambassadors who contacted us, stressed the need to adhere to the Political Agreement and its binding texts for consensus between the two councils,” the statement read.

The HCS affirmed its rejection of any unilateral action taken by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and called on the Supreme Court to activate the constitutional department to prevent any constitutional violation.

It also gave notice to the High National Electoral Commission not to deal with any unilateral law “that contradicts the Constitutional Declaration and the Political Agreement”.

The council repeated its commitment to a solution based on national partnership in the framework of the Political Agreement to prevent the country from slipping back into conflict.

But despite all concerns, Hanan Shalouf, an HoR boycotting member, believes that the situation is not that bleak and noted several points.

“Although the law was put on the block without holding extensive discussions, not to mention the place, which lies under Haftar’s militias control, besides what happened to MP Faraj Abu Hashem, who spoke openly about his refusal for military figures to run for the presidency, and despite the very broad powers granted to the president, there are two issues that we can be optimistic about,” she said in a statement to The Libya Observer.

One of the fundamental conditions is that the candidate should only hold the Libyan nationality and not be married to a foreigner, and another is that the whole country serves as a single constituency, meaning that it is not required for the president to obtain a 50 + 1 in each region, as they may all be from the western, eastern or other regions.

She goes on to explain, “That in this case, there is a large proportion of the population in the western region who reject Haftar as well as the IDPs from the east. So, if we could agree on a single presidential candidate, we can turn the tables on our opponents, even though they tried to elaborate the law to suit a particular figure from their side.”

Last October, the conflicting parties in Libya agreed to a ceasefire agreement and a transitional government tasked with organizing elections next December.

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