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Last updateMer, 28 Jan 2015 10am

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Mixed reaction to proposals on Libyan transition-Libya

Tripoli, Libya - Libyans have expressed mixed views on proposals on transitional arrangements over the next 18 months, which among other things calls for direct election of the president and parliament.

The proposals were handed over on Tuesday to the General National Congress (GNC - Parliament) by the Commission, called 'February Commission', which is in charge of drafting a Constitution as well as a new electoral law.

It recommends the election of a President and Parliament by direct universal suffrage and tries to strike a balance in the distribution of prerogatives of each institution.

It provides for 13 remits for the President, including the power to dissolve parliament through a popular referendum, represent the country abroad, appoint the Prime Minister, ambassadors and senior civil servants.

Parliament has a monopoly on legislation and to approve the government’s decisions while it also exercises control over the executive.

Mohamed Droughi, a civil society activist, believes that 'this new transition will only keep the country afloat temporarily but exacerbate prevailing instability'. He accused Congress of “shunning its responsibility and holding on to power at all cost”.

Mahmoud Jarbouaa, Vice-President of the 'February Commission', however, said 'Libyans have suffered enough from the disorganization of the country'.

He added that 'the experience that the Congress is currently going through is resented by the Libyans who are disillusioned by the tension between the Congress and the government while they blame each other over the inability to find a solution to the challenge'.

'The election of a President with large prerogatives will enable the government to awaken from the current state of lethargy,' he said, noting that 'Libyans no longer want collective bodies in which liability is diluted, but they want to choose and vote for the person they trust'.

Law Professor Abdelkader Gdoura said the text had advantages but he criticized the fact that powers were concentrated in the hand of a single individual - the president.

He added that the election of a President was not consistent with the current needs of Libya.

According to him 'electing a President for the country is not consistent with the tribal nature of Libyan society', adding that 'the current situation might worsen with violence currently plaguing the Libyan society in relation to the election of a President'.

'The President may only represent his tribe and allies,' he said.

He expressed concern about the possibility of Congress failing to pass this legislation, which could open the door to endless debates between the political blocs in Congress.

He felt that the election of the President and Parliament by direct universal suffrage could be a source of divergence, wrangling and conflict of interest between the two powers, each claiming to draw its legitimacy from the people.

These fears were quickly brushed aside by Ahmed Ngui, a Member of the 'February Commission' who pointed out that the six parliamentarians who were members of the commission each represented a political bloc in Congress.

Pana 06/03/2014