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‘Positive atmosphere’ as Libyans propose political changes

UN Special Envoy for Libya Ghassan Salame holds a press conference in Rome, Italy on 8 August, 2017 [Riccardo de Luca/Anadolu Agency]
UN Special Envoy for Libya Ghassan Salame holds a press conference in Rome, Italy on 8 August, 2017 [Riccardo de Luca/Anadolu Agency]

The Libyan dialogue committees of the House of Representatives (HoR) and the State Council (SC) have agreed on the latest proposed amendments to the Libyan Political Agreement which will reduce the capacity of the Presidential Council from nine members to three and see the prime minister appointed separately.

The changes come as Libyan leaders met in Tunisia to work out amendments to the LPA in reconciliation talks to finally work towards a solution to the country’s current political stalemate.

UN special envoy Ghassan Salamé spoke of the “positive atmosphere and a clear convergence of views” as members of Libya’s rival factions discussed changes.

The two sides will discuss further the potential changes by conferring with their teams and refining the issues of contention. The focus will be on Article No. 8 which stipulates who can appoint the military along with civil and security posts.

The HoR demands that the SC should contain 200 members and not just 145 as stipulated by the LPA – currently the SC has 138 members.

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The discussion has also included extending the term of Constitution Drafting Assembly by another three months in order to formulate an amended version to what is proposed and whether or not a return to the 1951 or 1963 constitution is necessary.

Both the heads of the two dialogue committees, Abdualslam Nasia of the HoR and Musa Faraj of the SC, have expressed optimism about the remaining issues being resolved.

On talks regarding nominating the new PC members and the prime minister, no new names have been discussed nor were any names thought of, according to Nasia.

Faraj has said that if and when the amended LPA is approved, there will be a gap of some 50 weeks before parliamentary and presidential elections will be held in the country.

A meeting between current PC head Fayez Al-Sarraj and rival military man Khalifa Haftar held in Paris a few months ago indicated their willingness to hold early elections next year however little has been discussed since in honouring those talks.

The UN-brokered LPA was signed in Morocco in 2015 as a political foundation to end years of political stagnation and fighting in the country since the revolution in 2015, but alliances to authorities in the east and west have disregarded the agreement and refuse to recognise the legitimacy of the PC.

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