Libya's elected congress takes power soon

2012-07-29 18:26

Tripoli - Libya's General National Congress, which will become the first elected body to rule the oil-rich nation after Muammar Gaddafi's ousting, is due to take power early in August, an official said on Sunday.

"8 Augus is expected to be the date on which power is transferred from the National Transitional Council to the General National Congress," said Othman Ben Sassi, a member of the outgoing NTC.

Ben Sassi said the handover would be marked by a "symbolic ceremony" and that the 200-seat congress would formally start working a day or two later, when all the members meet for their first session.

An official of the country's electoral commission said details of the transition were still being hammered out but that the congress's first meeting was expected around 9 August.

Libyans cast ballots on 7 July in the country's first free elections following a 2011 popular uprising that escalated into a civil war and overthrew the regime of now slain dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

They elected a 200-member legislative assembly comprising party and independent representatives, which will replace the NTC and lead the country until fresh elections can be held on the basis of a new constitution.

The electoral commission on 17 July unveiled the full results of the vote for the General National Congress, where the lion-share of seats have been set aside for individual candidates, whose loyalties and ideologies remain unclear.

Out of the parties, which hold just 80 of 200 seats, the liberal coalition of 2011 wartime premier Mahmud Jibril performed best, nailing 39 seats on its own.

Jibril's National Forces Alliance also counts on the support of centrist party led by Ali Tarhuni, who held several key posts during last year's revolt, which obtained two seats in the congress.

Independents key

The Justice and Construction Party, which was launched by Libya's Muslim Brotherhood, came second with 17 seats. But its leader, Mohammed Sawan, says the party can even the score by bringing independent candidates on its side.

The commission is expected to confirm these results in the coming days, marking the closure of what it said would be a two-week appeal period.

Independents hold the key to the balance of power in the incoming assembly and the two rival parties are said to be knocking on their doors in a bid to expand their sphere of influence.

"Everyone is talking to everyone, parties and independents," said Ben Sassi.

Hailing from a variety of backgrounds - from lawyers to former political prisoners - most independents tuned their campaign messages according to the needs of voters in their local districts rather than espousing a clear ideology.

Some have ties to parties while others are seen as genuine independents.

There have been reports of like-minded individual representatives trying to form an alternative front, separate from Jibril's alliance and the Islamist bloc.

Whether two or three major forces emerge in the congress, decisions in the assembly require a two-thirds majority to pass, making cooperation between all players necessary to avoid gridlock in a delicate transition.

The chief task of the incoming assembly is to appoint an interim government and steer the country until new elections can be held on the basis of a constitution which is to be drafted by a constituent authority of 60 members.

  • AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-07-29 19:12

    Totally amazing !! After this madman gadaffi destroyed EVERYTHING in Libya, related to democracy, the political parties, unions, voters lists, the lot !!! and than have an elected body, within a 6 month period is stunning. And than some silly radicals were saying that ' the Libyans were not 'ready' for democracy" and non stopp BS, that Al-Qaeda was going to take over.................!!! These childish radicals will just say ANTHING, to be able to spew out some anti western CRAP !!!

      andiswa.s.mlokoti - 2012-07-29 20:19

      I'm just wondering how exactly did he destroy Libya. I still stand with him, he has done what any good leader would do for his country from the greedy westerns.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-07-29 21:03

      Andiswa, ""I'm just wondering how exactly did he destroy Libya"" Maybe better toask the Libyans directly !! What you talking about; ""greedy Westerners"" ?? Europe today buys less oil from Libya than pre abbatoir. The main "winner" in this uprising, besides off course the Libyan population, is......China !!!

      lacrimose.wolf - 2012-07-29 22:16

      andiswa - Libyan people wanted him gone. Even the most benign dictators are still dictators and for all the good he brought to Libya and its people, he still treated them like children. Like most bad parents he thought if he gave them everything they wanted they'd be good and love him and all would be roses and sunshine. But children grow up and want their own stuff and don't like being told what to do, when, where and how to do it. Gadaffi was an anachronism in an increasingly modernised and developing country. His people grew and developed. He did not.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-07-30 09:18

      Andiswa, you're obviously not aware of who Gaddafi was and wha he did. He embezzled billions of dollars that belonged to the Libyan people. He did this to support a narcissistic lifestyle that no Western head of state has. He actually believed he was "the king of kings of Africa". If ever there was a greedy, egocentirc person, it was him.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-07-30 09:19

      He also killed, tortured, detained and had raped tens of thousands of Libyans who just wanted to vote for their leaders. If this is the type of leadership you want, truly I feel sorry for you.

  • andiswa.s.mlokoti - 2012-07-29 20:10

    Ewe neh, big sigh

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