Abdalla Belheeg, the Official Spokesperson for House of Representatives (HoR) reported at the end of yesterday’s session that the HoR had during the day’s deliberations approved the 13th Constitutional Amendment.
He said it was approved unanimously by the 113 attending members.
The 13th amendment sets out the roles of the president, prime minister and parliament and a constitutional path to elections. Most of the amendment had already been agreed in talks between Ageela Saleh and High State Council (HSC) head Khaled Mishri, and between the two chambers. The main outstanding issue has been the eligibility of candidates with dual nationality which the HSC has been opposed to.
The HSC must approve the 13th Amendment
As prescribed by the December 2015 Skhirat Libyan Political Agreement (LPA), the HoR must now send the 13th Constitutional Amendment for approval by the HSC.
The 12th Constitutional Amendment had been rejected
It is still unclear whether the HSC will accept the HoR’s 13th Amendment to the 2011 Transitional Constitutional Declaration and its subsequent amendments.
It will be recalled, for example, that the HSC had rejected a previous attempt by the HoR to set out a roadmap for elections when in February 2022 it rejected the 12th Constitutional Amendment.
It had also rejected the HoR’s amendment of the executive authority creating the new Fathi Bashagha-led government.
The HSC had stated that the HoR decisions were rejected based on their violation of the 2015 Skhirat Libyan Political Agreement and the form and spirit of consensus between the HSC and HoR.
HoR and HSC do not want elections?
In short, the only thing that the HoR and the HSC have consistently agreed on since 2011 – is to disagree. Equally, there are many cynics domestically and internationally that believe that both bodies will do everything possible to avoid elections. Elections would end the political life of both bodies.
Al-Hadi Al-Saghir elected Second Deputy Speaker
Official Spokesperson Belheeg also reported that at the same HoR session, members elected Hadi Al-Saghir from Brak Al-Shatti in the south as the Second Deputy Speaker in the second round of voting. The first round of voting took place the previous day. Al-Saghir won 67 votes compared to 40 for second placed Ahmed Al-Sharif.
Al-Saghir replaces Hmaid Huma who was appointed Defence Minister in the eastern-based Fathi Bashagha government. The HoR no longer recognises the Tripoli-based Abd Alhamid Aldabaiba government after it withdrew confidence from it. It subsequently appointed a new government on 1 March 2022 headed by Fathi Bashagha.