|Franz Ludwig Bernardo |||Aug 05, 2014 05:05 PM EDT|
(Photo : Reuters/Stringer) Members of Libya's New Parliament
Libya's newly elected parliament held its first formal session on Monday. The new parliament has called for national unity amidst continuous fighting between militants in the country.
The session was held Monday morning in a hotel in the eastern city of Tobruk. Fighting in Benghazi and Tripoli made the two cities unsafe for a parliament session.
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The new members of parliament were elected last June 25 and were sworn in during the session. The new parliament replaces the General National Congress (GNC) as the new legislative authority in the country. The GNC was widely controlled and dominated by factions connected to the Muslim Brotherhood.
According to Nuri Abu Sahmain, the former president of the GNC, the ceremony was illegitimate because the meeting should have been held in Tripoli and a formal handover from the GNC should have taken place.
In response, Hana Abudeed, member of the current parliament, said that the former deputy chief of the GNC, Azzedine al-Awami, performed the handover.
She added that "the February Committee said previously that the General National Congress sets the date but the location is determined by the House of Representatives itself", in a statement she made to the Libya Herald.
Out of the 188 elected members of parliament, 158 were able to attend. Most of those who did not attend did so as a sign support towards the GNC.
Oqailah Eissa was elected as the parliament speaker during the session. Eissa previously served in several judicial posts before being elected to the position. He is Libya's third parliament speaker after the overthrow of Muammar Gadhafi in 2011.
According to a joint statement issued by the governments of France, Italy, Germany, the UK and the USA, "the convening of the council is an important step towards putting Libya's democratic transition back on track and helping restore law and order to the country."
Representatives from the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation were also present in the event.
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