General National Congress

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This article is about the former Libyan national legislature. For other National Congresses (legislatures), see National Congress.
General National Congress
المؤتمر الوطني العام
al-Mu’tamar al-Waṭanī al-‘āmm
Seal of the General National Congress of Libya.png
Type
Type
History
Founded 8 August 2012 (2012-08-08)[1][2]
Disbanded 4 August 2014 (2014-08-04)
Leadership
Nouri AbusahmainIndependent[5]
since 25 June 2013[5]
Deputy presidents
Structure
Seats 200
General_National_Congress_of_Libya.svg
Political groups

     National Forces Alliance (39)
     Justice and Construction (17)
     National Front (3)
     Union for the Homeland (2)
     National Centrist (2)
     Wadi Al-Hayah (2)
     Other parties/blocs (15)

     Independents (120)[6]
Elections
Parallel voting; 80 seats through party-list proportional representation and 120 seats through multiple-member districts
Last election
7 July 2012
Meeting place
Ghabat Al Nasr Convention Centre (temporary)
Tripoli, Libya
Website
www.facebook.com/LibyanGNC (English)
Flag of Libya.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Libya

The General National Congress (Arabic: المؤتمر الوطني العام‎, al-Mu’tamar al-Waṭanī al-‘āmm, Berber: ⴰⴳⵔⴰⵡ ⴰⵖⴻⵍⵏⴰⵡ ⴰⵎⴰⵜⵓ, Agraw Aghelnaw Amatu) was the legislative authority of Libya for two years following the end of the Libyan Civil War. It was elected by popular vote on 7 July 2012, and took power from the National Transitional Council on 8 August.[1][2][7]

Tasked primarily with transitioning Libya to a permanent democratic constitution, it was given an 18-month deadline to fulfil this goal. When the deadline passed with work on the new constitution only just getting underway, Congress was forced to organise elections to a new House of Representatives, which took power and replaced it on 4 August 2014.[8][9][10]

An un-reelected minority of former GNC members, supported by the LROR and Central Shield armed groups, met on 25 August 2014 and declared a new self-proclaimed General National Congress. They elected Omar al-Hasi as their claimant "prime minister"[11] This new claimant GNC is not recognized as the GNC by Libya's elected parliament or by foreign governments.

History[edit]

Inauguration[edit]

In a ceremony on 8 August 2012, the National Transitional Council formally transferred power to the General National Congress. Mustafa Abdul Jalil stepped down as head of state, passing the position to the GNC's oldest member, Mohammed Ali Salim.[12] The NTC was then dissolved, while the GNC members took their oaths of office, led by Salim.[13]

Hundreds of people gathered in Tripoli's Martyrs' Square with candles symbolizing reconciliation.[12] The date of the transfer – 20 Ramadan on the Islamic calendar – had also been selected for symbolic reasons; as 20 Ramadan the previous year had fallen on 20 August, the date that the National Liberation Army attacked Tripoli, leading to Gaddafi's flight.[13] As Jalil addressed the crowd, attendees periodically chanted "Allāhu Akbar" or "The blood of the martyrs will not be wasted!"[14]

According to BBC News, the transfer was "the first peaceful transition of power in Libya's modern history".[12]

Post-2014 elections[edit]

In 2014 elections to a new Council of Deputies were held. However, politicians from the blocs that lost the elections continued to convene as the General National Congress, claiming to be a legitimate continuation of the obsolete General National Congress elected in 2012. However, its members do not represent a majority of the membership of the body,[15] as the majority of the GNC members belonged to groups now participating in the internationally-recognized Libyan parliament, the Council of Deputies. The self-proclaimed GNC is dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood's Libyan party, the Justice and Construction Party.

After their landslide defeat in the 2014 elections, Islamist parties acting under the leadership of Nouri Abusahmain used two armed groups, the LROR and Central Shield, to take control of the capital Tripoli. In late August, Islamist militias abducted rivals (whose whereabouts is unknown) and attacked 280 homes. Having suppressed dissent, the Islamist groups declared that they were the General National Congress and that it was once again the national parliament.

The self-proclaimed GNC is led by its "president", Nouri Abusahmain and its proclaimed "prime minister", Omar al-Hasi. Nouri Abusahmain was formerly president of the GNC which existed from 8 August 2012 to 4 August 2014.

Composition[edit]

The General National Congress was composed of 200 members of which 80 were elected through a party list system of proportional representation, and 120 were elected as independents in multiple-member districts.[16][17]

It is estimated that 25 independents were associated with the NFA, 17 with Justice and Construction, and 23 were Salafis.[18]

Following the 2012 elections, an Integrity Commission was set up to exclude and remove Gaddafi-era officials from politics. The commission removed 15 members of the GNC.[19] Independent members from Bayda, Baten al-Jabal, Abu Salim, Hay al-Andalus, Sabha, Tarhuna and Ubari were expelled, along with all the independents from Ghat and Bani Walid, two representatives of local lists from Ubari and Wadi al-Shate’, and two NFA deputies from Zliten and Abu Salim. By March 2013 one expelled member from Bayda had been replaced; all other seats remained vacant.[18]

The Congress was tasked with electing a new Prime Minister and governing cabinet. Among the rules approved by the GNC on the election of the Prime Minister was a prohibition on Prime Ministers and cabinet ministers being GNC members simultaneously.[20]

The Congress selected Mustafa Abushagur as Prime Minister on 12 September 2012,[21] he subsequently resigned after failing to get a cabinet approved. On 14 October 2012, the General National Congress elected former GNC member and human rights lawyer Ali Zeidan as prime minister-designate.[22] Zeidan was sworn in after his cabinet was approved by the GNC.[23][24]

Seats by party[edit]

e • d Summary of Libyan General National Congress election results, 2012
Parties Votes % Seats
National Forces Alliance 714,769 48.14% 39
Justice and Construction 152,441 10.27% 17
National Front 60,592 4.08% 3
Union for the Homeland 66,772 4.50% 2
National Centrist Party 59,417 4.00% 2
Wadi Al-Hayah Party 6,947 0.47% 2
Moderate Ummah Assembly 21,825 1.47% 1
Authenticity and Renewal 18,745 1.26% 1
National Party For Development and Welfare 17,158 1.16% 1
Al-Hekma (Wisdom) Party 17,129 1.15% 1
Authenticity and Progress 13,679 0.92% 1
Libyan National Democratic Party 13,092 0.88% 1
National Parties Alliance 12,735 0.86% 1
Ar-Resalah (The Message) 7,860 0.53% 1
Centrist Youth Party 7,319 0.49% 1
Libya Al-'Amal (Libya – The Hope) 6,093 0.41% 1
Labaika National Party 3,472 0.23% 1
Libyan Party for Liberty and Development 2,691 0.18% 1
Arrakeeza (The Foundation) 1,525 0.10% 1
Nation and Prosperity 1,400 0.09% 1
National Party of Wadi ash-Shati 1,355 0.09% 1
Al-Watan (Homeland Party) 51,292 3.45% 0
Others 218,562 14.72% 0
Independents - - 120
Valid votes 1,484,723 84.13%
Invalid/blank votes 280,117 15.87%
Total (turnout 61.58%) 1,764,840 100% 200
Registered voters 2,865,937
Sources: Libya Herald, Project on Middle East Democracy,
High National Election Commission

Leadership[edit]

On 9 August 2012, Congress members voted in a televised meeting for a president for the GNC. Mohamed Yousef el-Magariaf, leader of the National Front Party, won with 113 votes versus independent Ali Zeidan who secured 85 votes.[25] From 1981 until 2011, el-Magariaf was exiled from Libya,[26] and led the NFP's predecessor organisation—called the National Front for the Salvation of Libya—for almost 20 years.[26]

Location[edit]

The permanent location of Libya's legislature had not yet been decided, but it was been proposed that a new parliament building could be built within the former Bab al-Azizia compound.[27] As an interim measure, the General National Congress convened in the Ghabat Al Nasr Convention Centre close to the Rixos Al Nasr Hotel in Tripoli. Libya's former legislature, the General People's Congress, met at the People's Hall which had been destroyed by fire during the Libyan civil war.[28]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Michel Cousins (24 July 2012). "National Congress to meet on 8 August: NTC". Libya Herald. Retrieved 26 July 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "NTC to Transfer Power to Newly-Elected Libyan Assembly August 8". Tripoli Post. 2 August 2012. Retrieved 4 August 2012. 
  3. ^ Congress fills First Deputy President slot after five months , Libya Herald, 24 November 2013.
  4. ^ National Congress elects two vice presidents, Libya Herald, 10 August 2012.
  5. ^ a b Nuri Ali Abu Sahmain elected Congress President, Libya Herald, 25 June 2013.
  6. ^ National Forces Alliance sweeps party lists as election results finally announced, Libya Herald, 17 July 2012.
  7. ^ Esam Mohamed (8 August 2012). "Libya's transitional rulers hand over power". Boston.com. Associated Press. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  8. ^ "Congress ends in silence". Libya Herald. Retrieved 4 August 2014. 
  9. ^ "Libya power handover agreed as airport battle rages on". AFP. 24 July 2014. Retrieved 23 July 2014. 
  10. ^ "Congress votes to replace itself with new House of Representatives". Libya Herald. 30 March 2014. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  11. ^ "Former Libyan parliament reconvenes, elects Islamist premier". Al Akhbar English. 25 August 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  12. ^ a b c "Libya's NTC hands power to newly elected assembly". BBC News. 8 August 2012. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  13. ^ a b Marie-Louise Gumuchian and Ali Shuaib (8 August 2012). "Libya's ruling council hands over power to new assembly". Reuters. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  14. ^ "Libya's transitional council hands over power". CNN. 8 August 2012. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  15. ^ "Abu Sahmain, Ghariani condemned by Thinni and parliament leader Saleh". Libya Herald. 25 August 2014. Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  16. ^ "Libya elections: Do any of the parties have a plan?". BBC News. 6 July 2012. Retrieved 6 September 2012. 
  17. ^ Margaret Coker (22 June 2012). "Libya Election Panel Battles Ghosts". The Wall Street Journal. 
  18. ^ a b http://www.swp-berlin.org/fileadmin/contents/products/research_papers/2013_RP04_lac.pdf
  19. ^ Mathieu Galtier (4 November 2012). "Inside the Commission for Integrity and Patriotism". Libya Herald. Retrieved 3 June 2012. 
  20. ^ George Grant; Sami Zaptia (3 September 2012). "National Congress passes raft of new measures regulating selection of PM". Libya Herald. Retrieved 6 September 2012. 
  21. ^ Ashraf Abdul Wahab; Michel Cousins (12 September 2012). "Abushagur elected as Prime Minister". Libya Herald. Retrieved 15 September 2012. 
  22. ^ George Grant (14 October 2012). "Ali Zidan elected prime minister". Libya Herald. Retrieved 14 October 2012. 
  23. ^ "Libya congress approves new PM's proposed government". Reuters. Retrieved 31 October 2012. 
  24. ^ Sami Zapita (14 November 2012). "Zeidan government sworn in". Libya Herald. Retrieved 3 June 2013. 
  25. ^ "Libyan national assembly votes Magarief president". Reuters. 9 August 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2012. 
  26. ^ a b Umar Khan (11 August 2012). "Mohammed Magarief: From Libya’s most hunted man to National Congress speaker". Libya Herald. Retrieved 6 September 2012. 
  27. ^ Luke Harding (8 July 2012). "Libyan plan to build parliament on ruins of Gaddafi's compound". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  28. ^ "UPDATE 1-Government building on fire in Libyan capital". Reuters Africa. 21 February 2011. Retrieved 10 August 2012. 

External links[edit]