Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Libyan Parliament Votes against U.N.-Backed Government | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Libyan pro-government forces hold a position as they fight to clear the Islamic State group from its main Libyan stronghold of Sirte on August 13, 2016. AFP

Cairo – The internationally acknowledged Libyan parliament had confused the political scene once again by voting against the U.N.-backed government led by Fayiz al-Sarraj.

Nine months after the Government of National Accord (GNA), the product of a U.N.-backed deal signed in December, has been seeking endorsement for months as it tries to extend its influence and authority beyond its base in Tripoli, in western Libya.

Sarraj didn’t make any official comment on the matter, neither did the U.S. or western countries that had always gambled that Sarraj’s government would be granted the trust.

Libyan parliament is composed of 200 members, 20 of them at least had lost their membership for different reason. The remaining members were divided among themselves about Sarraj and his government.

This is the second time the parliament votes against the government and its presidential council.
Speaker Akila Saleh said that the no-trust vote was correct with the quorum needed present. He added that the session’s agenda was correct because the previous session was suspended.

Akila confirmed that 101 deputies had attended Monday’s session, with 61 voting against the GNA, 39 abstaining, and just one voting in favor. The number of attendees was a little over half the chamber.

Parliament’s spokesperson Abdullah Bilhaq confirmed that the session was legal with the presence of the members. He added that this is the first time the parliament meets since nine months.
Bilhaq said some lawmakers had opposed the GNA “from the start because of the lack of credentials and qualifications of the ministers and because the government had not achieved any of the things expected of it”.

The U.S. supported Government of National Accord (GNA), tried to assure that it had been given the trust officially after over hundred MPs signed on a petition.

A bloc of pro-GNA lawmakers accused the government’s opponents of hijacking the parliamentary process; they also claimed of receiving deaths threats.

Military wise, forces aligned with Sarraj’s government said they have advanced in Sirte and distributed photos of sites under their control.

Media center of Solid Structure Operations issued a statement saying that their forces were able to defeat ISIS fighters and gain control over areas. They said they gained control over 200 residential units in the center of the city. The statement added that the forces were able to gain control over the internal security headquarters used as prison by ISIS.

U.S. announced that up till last Thursday, U.S. aircrafts had launched 65 air raids over Sirte. Deputy Press Secretary Gordon Trowbridge announced there are few hundred jihadists in Sirte, and between one thousand and few thousands in Libya as a whole.

On May 12, forces aligned with Sarraj’s government initiated its operations to liberate Sirte that was under jihadists control since last year.