Congress votes to replace itself with new House of Representatives

By Ahmed Elumami.

Tripoli, 30 March 2014:

The General National Congress (GNC) approved an Electoral Law this evening that will see it pass into history with elections to a new interim legislature to be known as the House of Representatives.

The head of Congress, Nuri Abu Sahmain, had pledged the law would be voted on an handed over to the High National Elections Commission (HNEC) to implement before the end of the month.

“124 Congress members out of 133 voted to pass the law today” Zawia Congresswoman Naima Al-Hami told this paper.”

The law reserves 30 seats for women. It also removes the party list system. All 200 members will be elected as individuals, although they can be members of political parties.

Ten Congress members refused to attend the session over the decision to remove an article stating that “the candidates to the House of Representatives should not have a foreign nationality”. As a result, Libyans with a second nationality, of whom there are a number on Congress, can stand as candidates for the new body.

A Congresswoman from Beida who was one of the ten, Najah Salouh Abdulsalam, told the Libya Herald that they rejected removing Clause No.1 of Article No.6 but had to accept the outcome for the sake of democracy.

According to Congresswomen Hami, the overwhelming majority did not object to allowing Libyans with a second nationality being in the House.

A lot of Libyans with a second, foreign nationality had come and participated in the revolution, she said. Why, she wondered, would Congress now want to prevent them from participating in rebuilding Libya.

There was heated discussion among the Congress members on some of the 42 articles in the law, she added, notably Article No.16 reserving 15 percent of the 200 seats for women and Article No. 17  stating that there would be 13 constituencies as in the Congressional elections. Both were finally approved as in the proposal from the February Committee.

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