By Sami Zaptia.
London, February 1, 2021:
The Supreme Amazigh Council (ASC) in Libya yesterday announced its irrevocable boycott of the planned referendum on the country’s draft constitution in the regions and cities affiliated with it, stressing that it is not bound by any result of this referendum.
He rejected the results of the meetings of the joint legal committee of the Libyan House of Representatives and the High Council of State in the Egyptian city of Hurghada regarding the referendum on the draft constitution, considering that this draft is based on the submission rather than consensus.
The ASC expressed regret at what it called brothers of religion and homeland in disregard of their rights, threatening to take concrete measures represented by creating a fourth administrative region and preparing a constitutional document for the Berbers .
They also affirmed their support for any constitution drafted and written inside the country without any external dictation and which meets the aspirations of the Libyan people with all its components.
He called on all Berbers to boycott the referendum on the draft constitution, and also called on Libya’s High National Electoral Commission (HNEC) to view the declaration as an official decision to exclude the regions it represents from the referendum.
MANUL, LPDF, referendum on the draft constitution and elections of December 24, 2021
The ASC statement highlights how complex and multi-layered the political situation in Libya is and why the country has been plunged into a political quagmire since the 2011 revolution that overthrew the Gaddafi regime.
It will be recalled that the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) negotiated by UNSMIL and composed of 74 members drew up a political roadmap for the country which involves the choice of a new unified and temporary provisional government.
The LPDF began its five-day deliberations today in Geneva to select the new three-person Presidency Council and the Prime Minister from a list of 45 candidates. Once chosen, this new government of national unity (GNU) will prepare the country for the constitutional elections on December 24, 2021.
However, for these elections to be constitutionally based, the GNU must oversee, in cooperation with the House of Representatives and the High Council of State, a referendum on the draft constitution.
The draft constitution thwarted – rejection by the Tebu and the Amazighs
It will be recalled that the elected Constitutional Drafting Assembly (CDA) initially presented the HoR with its latest draft constitution in July 2017, but a (lower) court decision from the eastern city of Beida in August of the same year had prevented the HoR from discussing / approving the project.
However, the Supreme Court subsequently overturned that decision in February 2018, paving the way for the HoR to debate and vote on the draft constitution.
It should nevertheless be borne in mind that the Amazighs boycotted the CDA elections in February 2014 and that the two ethnically Toubous members of the CDA did not vote in favor of the âapprovedâ draft constitution.
Under existing voting rules, the constitution must be accepted by at least one of the two CDA members from each of the three ethnic communities in Libya – the Amazighs, Tebu and Tuaregs. In theory, this cancels the vote on the draft constitution. Nevertheless, the HoR chose to ignore this anomaly and proceed with its adoption.
Tough challenges await a new GNU
However, this anomaly will now face the new GNU and force the problem to get worse. The GNU will only have until December of this year to oversee a referendum on the draft constitution – while previous governments have failed to solve this conundrum since 2017. At best, if the draft constitution is shaken up by the HoR and the HSC, it will subject it to a legal challenge.
HoR starts discussion on draft constitution and referendum | (libyaherald.com)
Supreme Court Decides Beida Jurisdiction to Rule Constitutional Matters – Paves Way for HoR to Legislate for Referendum | (libyaherald.com)
ADC vote on the draft constitution invalidated by the Beida court | (libyaherald.com)
LFJL sees contradictions in draft constitution, says it must protect rights and freedoms of all Libyans | (libyaherald.com)
New draft constitution “gives everyone something and nobody everything” | (libyaherald.com)
Libyan Draft Constitution – Overview | (libyaherald.com)
CDA Calls on Election Commission to Prepare Referendum on Draft Constitution as Tebu Representatives Reject | (libyaherald.com)
Activists call on HoR to reject draft constitution as Amazighs consider legal action against it | (libyaherald.com)