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Home » Libya » Joint Communique on Libya

May 2013 

mohamed Magarief wins

Mohamed al-Magarief, the elected head of Libya’s parliament, stepped down on Tuesday in compliance with a law passed earlier this month which bars from public office for 10 years anyone who served in a senior position under the rule of Muammer Gaddafi.

Mr Magarief was an ambassador to India in 1980 before he defected and joined the opposition, living in exile until 2011.

In a speech to the assembly he said “parliament passed the isolation law and everyone must comply with it. And I will be the first who will comply with it”.

Following applause, he added: “I submit my resignation to you.”

The political isolation law had stalled in parliament until armed militias surrounded government ministries late last month to press for its adoption. Former rebels against Gaddafi arrived in pick-up trucks mounted with heavy weapons and laid siege to government offices to demand passage of the law.

Supporters of the law have argued that it was necessary to make a clean break with the Gaddafi era and its personalities and that the new Libya should be led by fresh faces. Critics, however, have charged that the legislation was too sweeping and that it deprived public service of many experienced people.

The adoption of the law under pressure from militias has underlined the difficulties facing the emerging Libyan state in asserting the authority of its institutions after the overthrow of Gaddafi by an armed rebellion backed by Nato air power.

With the country awash with weapons, armed brigades, many only nominally under state control, can intimidate government and elected institutions while playing by their own rules.

In his speech, Mr Magarief decried what he described as the empowerment of some lawmakers in the assembly backed by gunmen. He warned against the widespread possession of weapons by groups outside of government and criticised “the use of weapons or the threat to do so outside of the legitimate authority or without its orders”.

Huda Bannani, a member of the assembly from Benghazi, said she was personally opposed to Mr Magarief’s resignation, but that his decision to submit to the law “was a good step to lay the foundations of a state of law in Libya”.

She said parliamentarians who drafted the legislation were unable to agree on who qualified for exemptions from its provisions so they went for a blanket ban.

Mohammed Abdallah al-Tharat, head of the Democratic Front party, said it was “a difficult situation for parliament and the Libyan people that someone like Magarief should have to resign because of a law aimed at those who were in the regime of the dictator”.

Parliament, he said, would agree a mechanism to choose a new leader who should be in place within a few weeks.

Source: Financial Times 

Categories: News, Press

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