- 5 Western countries led by Washington recognize the “law” for the election of the president issued by Aguila Saleh Issa without the approval of the deputies and the participation of the State Council
- The UN mission implicitly recognizes the “law” of Aguila Saleh Issa, and the Electoral Commission is ready to implement the scheme
- The State Council warns Saleh Issa against violating the political agreement and warns the Electoral Commission not to deal with a unilateral law
The State Council issues a constitutional rule and election laws in a political move to embarrass the House of Representatives
“Elections at any cost.” This is what the international community wants from the Libyans on December 24, and it is the message that Aguila Saleh Issa, Speaker of the House of Representatives picked up, but he seeks to exploit it to serve his interests in a way that allows him to install his ally, retired Major General Khalifa Haftar, as president of the country. “Whatever it takes.”
Only less than 100 days remain until the elections, and there are no strong indications that they will be organized on time, unless the official bodies concerned with this file have been skipped and laws falsified with the complicity of the UN mission and the Electoral Commission, which will lead to perpetuating division rather than resolving the issue of legitimacy.
It seems that consensual and fair elections on time, and their results recognized by all parties, are an almost impossible task, after the Libyans missed several opportunities to agree on a constitutional basis to hold them, and the presidential and parliamentary elections laws have not been adopted yet.
“Forgery” of the presidential election law
One indication that the upcoming elections will not be fair or even consensual is Saleh’s surprisingly promulgation of the presidential election law, before the deputies voted on it and approved it by the described majority (120 votes out of a total of less than 180 deputies).
Saleh did not consult the Supreme Council of State (a consultative parliament) about the draft election law, as stipulated in that political agreement.
This prompted 22 deputies to issue a statement condemning, expressing their surprise at the failure to vote on the draft law on the election of the head of state, stressing that this is a violation of regulations and obstruction of the elections.
The deputies stressed that the parliament “did not vote on the draft law on the elections of the president of the state in any session (..) and no decision or law was issued regarding it, and that what happened in the previous sessions was the discussion of the law and its referral to the Legislative Committee to prepare a final draft for a vote on it, which is what did not happen”.
This is a precedent in the history of parliaments in the world, that a law is adopted by the Speaker while it is still in the process of discussion and deliberation among the representatives, and before it is approved by rejection or support.
Khalid El-Masri, head of the State Council, stressed in this context that the deputies must pass laws by the described majority of 120 votes, “and this did not happen.”
In another statement, El-Masri called on the Electoral Commission not to deal with any unilateral law that contradicts the Constitutional Declaration and the Political Agreement.
Several angry positions were issued by parties and activists, rejecting Aguila Saleh Issa’s unilateral action in issuing the election law in a “personal and unilateral” manner.
A political response in a legislative form
The State Council, in one of its statements, warned that “if the House of Representatives continues to violate the political agreement, we have new options that will be presented in due course.”
The first of these options was for the State Council to vote on a constitutional basis and election laws, on Sunday, and decided to refer them to the House of Representatives for consultation.
This step would provoke a new crisis with the House of Representatives, which many of its members consider that it alone has the power to legislate, while the State Council, in their view, is just an advisory body.
Most likely, the House of Representatives will refuse to receive the constitutional base and draft election laws from the State Council, on the grounds that they infringe on its powers.
However, what the State Council has done is considered a unilateral political step in response to Aguila Saleh Issa’s unilateral issuance of the presidential election law without consulting with him.
It also constitutes an embarrassment to the House of Representatives, which has so far failed to pass the parliamentary elections law, not to mention the parliament’s failure to vote on the president’s election bill, which is another lesson that Saleh receives from El-Masri.
This step may reinforce the division of the legislative institution again if each party insists on a de facto policy.
International and international complicity
Even stranger than that, the High Electoral Commission headed by Imad al-Sayeh announced its receipt of the presidential election law, which means its recognition of it, and the same applies to the international mission headed by Jan Kubis.
It was as if there was collusion between Saleh, the tourist and Kubis, to pass the laws without passing through the Supreme Council of State, headed by El-Masri, after the three of them met in the Italian capital, Rome, on July 26, with a parliamentary committee to discuss the presidential election law.
At the time, the UN mission stressed the need to involve the Supreme Council of State in the Rome meeting, and in preparing draft laws in accordance with the political agreement, but now it recognizes a law that was not ratified by the House of Representatives and did not involve the State Council in its preparation, which raises the question.
However, this question may disappear if the reason is known, as the United States, France, Britain, Germany and Italy announced their recognition of the Aguila Saleh Issa law related to the presidential elections.
The five countries issued a joint statement in which they clarified that “the House of Representatives approved steps to achieve this goal (elections on time), as its president announced on September 8 the legal rules for the presidential elections, and the High National Elections Commission made progress in preparations for holding national presidential elections. and Parliamentary.”
This statement constitutes international recognition of the “Aguila Saleh Issa Law”, a complete marginalization of the Supreme Council of State, and an affirmation of the role of the Electoral Commission as a partner in this international game.
The weight of this position lies in the fact that it includes 3 permanent members of the Security Council (the United States, France and Britain), and Russia is a strong supporter of Aguila Saleh Issa, and China is an ally of Moscow.
Therefore, the five permanent members will turn a blind eye to the falsification of the “law” of electing the head of state, and the UN mission will participate in this “conspiracy”, as long as it will lead to the holding of the elections on time.
A detailed “law” according to Haftar’s size
The article that provoked the most controversy among the representatives when discussing the draft law on the election of the president, Article 12, which states that the candidate, whether civilian or military, has the right to run for elections without resigning, and if he loses, he returns to his position.
A number of deputies objected to this article, and the reason may be that it was not presented to the deputies for a vote, if it was likely to be amended at the level of the relevant committee before it was re-discussed. However, Aguila Saleh Issa passed the law, including this article.
This article allows retired Major General Khalifa Haftar not to resign from the leadership of the eastern militias, and if he loses the elections, he returns to his leadership.
Attempts by members of the Political Dialogue Committee loyal to Haftar, to tailor-made conditions that would allow him to run for the presidency, thwarted the Geneva conference, which was devoted to preparing a constitutional basis for the elections, which concluded early last July.
The scene of the upcoming elections scenario has begun to be completed. As Aguila Saleh Issa passes the presidential election law in any way, even if he did not get the required 120 votes (the number of representatives who attended the debate was in the range of eighty).
The second step: The UN mission and the High Electoral Commission announce that they have received the “law”, which means granting it international recognition and legitimacy, and then it will be put into effect with the Electoral Commission, to begin its technical arrangements for holding the presidential elections.
The third step: The Western countries, led by Washington, declare their tacit recognition of the president’s election law, which gives him international legitimacy, despite the flaw in it.
The fourth step: The Supreme Council of State and the political forces that support it are marginalized, and the head of the Electoral Commission, Imad al-Sayeh, is considered a representative of the western region.
The fifth step: holding the elections on December 24, and recognizing their results, even if they were boycotted by the majority of candidates and voters, especially in the western region, or rigged, which paves the way for the inauguration of Haftar as president of the country.
This scenario means two things, turning the page of the dialogue forum that failed to prepare the constitutional basis, and ending the role of the Supreme Council of State, which Washington blamed for the failure of the dialogue forum in Geneva after it stipulated the referendum on the constitution first.
The fundamental question that arises is, how will the Supreme Council of State and the political and military forces in the western region act in the face of this “international plan” to marginalize and even exclude them? Will they succumb to the fait accompli or will they thwart this scheme?