Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Libya: JCP responds

The crisis of confidence in the General National Congress (GNC) has thrown the Justice and Construction Party (JCP) into a spin. Some viewed the protests on 7 February as aimed specifically against them – so much so that JCP member Khalid Al-Meshri tried to mobilise party supporters in a counter-demonstration.
In what appeared to be an attempt to replicate events in Egypt during President Mohamed Morsi’s last weeks in power, when the MuslimBrotherhood called on its supporters to counter those demanding the president’s downfall, Al- Meshri declared, ‘The supporters of the extension will come out into the streets on Sunday.’ Luckily for Libya, they did not. A counterprotest in Tripoli’s Algeria Square numbered only a few dozen.
The JCP has since distanced itself from this kind of action. In a response to the public mood and a bid to show that it is not seeking to hold onto power at any cost, the party has taken to presenting itself as neutral on the issue of the extension of the GNC. ‘We are not a part of those who are saying “yes” to the extension nor to those who are saying “no,”’ it declared this month, somewhat insipidly.
Party leader Mohamed Sawan, meanwhile, made clear that the party would accept early elections to the GNC if they were called for. The JCP knows that it is skating on very thin ice. It knows, too, that it has to make the proposed roadmap work if it is to have any chance of surviving. But this entails not only getting public acceptance but also winning over the National Forces Alliance (NFA), which is still imposing tough conditions of its own.
For more news and expert analysis about Libya, please see Libya Focus and Libya Politics & Security.
© 2014 Menas Associates

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