Libya’s Parliament votes in favor of new UN road map

A general view of Libyan Parliament. (File photo. AFP)
Updated 21 November 2017
0

Libya’s Parliament votes in favor of new UN road map

BENGHAZI: The barely functioning Libyan Parliament voted on Tuesday in favor of a new UN action plan, which is aimed at giving new life to stalled political talks and healing the country’s deep divisions.
Abdullah Ablahig, spokesman for the Libyan House of Representatives — which is based in the eastern city of Tobrouk — told The Associated Press that the Parliament convened Tuesday and voted in favor of the new UN envoy Ghassan Salame’s road map. The new plan is designed to pave the way for future parliamentary and presidential elections and a vote on a new constitution.
Under the new plan, Libya will have a smaller presidential council that carries out the functions of head of state with nearly the same powers as the previous council, while a new government will be formed before a national conference is held.
The presidential council will be composed of three members — a president and two deputies — instead of nine and the Parliament along with another Tripoli-based consultative body known as the State Council will elect council members. The presidential council names a prime minister a week after its formation while the prime minister forms a government two weeks after his appointment.
As for the longtime divisive article number 8, which states that the council commands the armed forces, the Parliament has voted in favor of it, according to Ablahig. The Parliament has been enjoying such power and has derailed the previous UN plan to keep it.
Giving up command on the army could underline divisions between the Parliament and its onetime ally Khalifa Haftar, the commander of the Libyan National Army which answers to Parliament. Haftar has used his influence in the past to prevent a Parliament vote in favor of giving the presidential council the upper hand over the army.
The presidential council and the government will remain in power until new elections.
Libya sank into lawlessness years after the ouster and killing of former ruler Muammar Qaddafi. Since 2014, the country has been split into rival governments with one based in eastern Libya and the second based in western Libya.
In 2015, a new political agreement brokered by the UN gave birth to the presidential council. The council chaired by Fayez Serraj needed the Parliament’s vote of confidence on a new government, which never happened, stalling the political process.


Israeli air strike kills Hamas man in Gaza

Updated 4 min 21 sec ago
0

Israeli air strike kills Hamas man in Gaza

GAZA:  An Israeli air strike in the Gaza Strip killed a member of the militant Hamas group on Thursday and wounded two others, Hamas sources and medical officials said.
The Israeli military confirmed in a statement that it had carried out an air strike. It said it targeted Hamas militants who were about to launch balloons rigged with flammable material over the border into Israel.
Fires caused by incendiary helium balloons and kites launched by Palestinians in Gaza over the border into Israel have ravaged tracts of farmland there in recent months. Israel has vowed to stop the attacks, even at the risk of wider conflict.