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Under the terms of the newly adopted political agreement, the role of the HoR is distinctly different than before. The HoR is no longer the nation’s highest authority, nor the only representative of the Libyan people as stated in Article 17 of the Constitutional Declaration. The political agreement is a power sharing accord between the GNA, HoR, and HCS, based on the principles of separation of powers and checks and balances between branches of government. The political agreement has effectively shifted Libya’s political system from a stronghold parliamentarian system into a mixed semi-presidential system. Today, the HoR is solely a legislative power, and can only function as such. Any motion of no confidence by the HoR on the GNA first requires a confidence vote to constitute a ministerial cabinet, by which the executive power is formed. In accordance with the political agreement a motion of no confidence requires the agreement of 120 HoR members, after consultation with the High Council of State; an act that seems extremely difficult to achieve.
Nothing in the political agreement governs a case wherein a proposed ministerial cabinet is rejected by the Parliament, nor does it oversee its consequences. The political agreement is based on different governing principles, meant to signify and promote “accord,” “consensus,” “consultations,” “discussions,” “cooperation,” and “coordination.” These are new concepts in Libyan politics today and need to be learned and practiced through peaceful political means in a country torn by civil war and controlled by militias. The political institutions that are introduced or legitimized by the political agreement need to cooperate, discuss, and consult to reach an accord or a consensus, and above all to execute the political agreement in good faith. The level of crisis the country is in today leaves no room for the typical stubbornness, infighting, and blackmail we have seen over the last few years. Libya faces grave threats on multiple fronts. Such behavior can no longer be tolerated; the country and its people can no longer live with it.
Another weak claim circulating in Libyan media is that the HoR’s (unpublished) internal regulations technically permit it to force the selection of another Prime Minister altogether. It argues that if a cabinet is not formed within a given time limit, or the next proposed cabinet is rejected by the HoR, a new prime minister must be appointed. A precedent for this argument did occur in October 2012, when Mr. Abushagur, nominated as prime minister by the GNC, failed to form a government within a given time limit. This led to his replacement by Mr. Zeidan who assembled a cabinet in due course that was accepted. However, this argument is invalid here because it does not take into consideration the implications of the HoR’s new status under the political agreement it adopted. Since the political agreement became part of the Libyan Constitutional Declaration, a further step is required by the HoR, namely to revise and amend its internal regulations extensively so that they are compliant with the Constitutional Declaration as amended in accordance with the political agreement. By no means can the HoR’s internal regulations supersede the supreme law of the nation.