Libya's main parliamentary coalition has boycotted the national assembly in protest against delays in drafting the country’s first constitution after the fall of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The National Forces Alliance (NFA) bloc left the assembly’s session late on Sunday and did not attend its meeting on Monday.
"We have withdrawn from the congress meetings because it has not met its duties in making the constitution a reality," bloc spokesman Tawfiq Breik said.According to the NFA bloc, the new constitution must be drafted by a 60- member committee elected by Libyan voters. However, other groups want the national assembly to appoint a panel to carry out the task. Breik further highlighted that based on the national assembly’s mandate, elections to choose the committee to draw up the constitution should have already been held. "Instead now we are still debating in congress if we should elect the constitutional committee or to appoint them," he added. Meanwhile, the head of the NFA bloc, Ibrahim al-Gherian expressed disappointment at the assembly's performance, while adding, "It is a temporary withdrawal until our demands are met.” The bloc also complained about lack of clearness in the way the assembly sessions have set agendas, delays in providing the assembly members with enough security as well as lack of procedural rules for the sessions of the assembly. Libyans rose up against Gaddafi, who had ruled Libya for more than four decades, in February 2011 and deposed him in August 2011. The national assembly was elected in July 2012 in Libya's first free elections in decades following the overthrow of Gaddafi. The country’s first peaceful transition of power in decades took place in an official ceremony in Tripoli on August 8, 2012 when the assembly took over from Libya’s National Transitional Council. MR/PKH