General National Congress
|General National Congress
المؤتمر الوطني العام
al-Mu’tamar al-Waṭanī al-‘āmm
|Founded||8 August 2012|
|Disbanded||4 August 2014|
|Parallel voting; 80 seats through party-list proportional representation and 120 seats through multiple-member districts|
|7 July 2012|
|Ghabat Al Nasr Convention Centre (temporary)
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
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.
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.
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" This new claimant GNC is not recognized as the GNC by Libya's elected parliament or by foreign governments.
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. The NTC was then dissolved, while the GNC members took their oaths of office, led by Salim.
Hundreds of people gathered in Tripoli's Martyrs' Square with candles symbolizing reconciliation. 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. As Jalil addressed the crowd, attendees periodically chanted "Allāhu Akbar" or "The blood of the martyrs will not be wasted!"
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, 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.
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.
It is estimated that 25 independents were associated with the NFA, 17 with Justice and Construction, and 23 were Salafis.
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. 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.
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.
The Congress selected Mustafa Abushagur as Prime Minister on 12 September 2012, 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. Zeidan was sworn in after his cabinet was approved by the GNC.
Seats by party
|National Forces Alliance||714,769||48.14%||39|
|Justice and Construction||152,441||10.27%||17|
|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|
|Total (turnout 61.58%)||1,764,840||100%||200|
|Sources: Libya Herald, Project on Middle East Democracy,
High National Election Commission
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. From 1981 until 2011, el-Magariaf was exiled from Libya, and led the NFP's predecessor organisation—called the National Front for the Salvation of Libya—for almost 20 years.
The permanent location of Libya's legislature has not yet been decided, but it has been proposed that a new parliament building could be built within the former Bab al-Azizia compound. 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.
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- Official website (Arabic)