Friday, November 22, 2019
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Home » Libya » Joint Communique on Libya

Libyans electing panel to draft new charter

Libyans were electing a panel on Thursday to draft a new constitution they hope would help defuse a potentially deadly conflict between powerful militias and parliament members backed by armed factions. 
The panel is due to draft Libya’s first constitution since the 2011 ouster of dictator Moammar Gadhafi. Nearly 700 candidates are competing for a seat on the panel.

The vote comes after demands this week by powerful militias that interim parliament members resign or face detention. The United Nations in Libya counselled that legislators should call for new elections as soon as possible.

The standoff has brought the restive North African country’s long-running political crisis to a head. Parliament, elected in 2012, is split between Islamist and non-Islamist blocs. Its mandate was to have expired this month, but the Islamists led a motion to extend it by another year.

The crisis coincided with the third anniversary of the Feb. 17, 2011 uprising that toppled Gadhafi’s 42-year-old dictatorship.

After rebel forces toppled Gadhafi, the country was left bereft of functioning institutions. Successive governments relied on militias made up largely of ex-rebels to impose order. But those militias have allied with parliamentary blocs, while a series of assassinations and abductions mostly blamed on militias have further destabilized the country.

Libya’s split now spans regional, ideological and ethnic divides. Al-Qaaqaa and al-Sawaaq militias back the non-Islamist National Forces Alliance in parliament. Other militias, including those from the port city of Misrata, are allied with the Muslim Brotherhood behind the Islamist bloc.

The National Forces Alliance issued a statement distancing itself from the militias, saying it has no armed wing. Mahmoud Jibril, the founder of the alliance and one of the most influential western-minded figures, rejected the show of force but blamed parliament and the government.

Jibril urged all sides to reach an agreement and for parliament to hand over power to an elected body.

The Muslim Brotherhood group has denounced the militias’ warnings.

source/ Khaleej Times


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