A new crisis is looming inside the Libyan Presidential Council, which is headed by the prime minister of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord Fayez al-Sarraj.
The crisis is made possible by recent remarks by al-Sarraj’s deputy Ahmed Metig who accused the GNA prime minister of manipulating the Presidential Council and monopolizing decision-making inside it.
Metig even warned that the Presidential Council might be teetering on the edge of collapse.
He said al-Sarraj takes all the decisions inside the council, without consulting other council members. He even alluded to the presence of corruption inside the council.
Metig called on August 7 for opening an investigation into the money squandered by the GNA in the past period.
He called on Libyan citizens to get out to the streets to protest the failures of the GNA.
Metig also asked GNA Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha to protect the demonstrators.
As prime minister, Metig said, al-Sarraj does not have the right to monopolize decision-making.
He added that the 2015 Skhirat Agreement gives al-Sarraj a limited mandate.
This means that he does not have the right to be the absolute arbiter inside the Presidential Council, Metig said of al-Sarraj.
Roots of the conflict
Internal and external reasons stand behind current conflicts within the Presidential Council.
There are different poles of power in western Libya. These poles are competing for influence and control inside the council.
They include influential people and tribes in Misrata. Metig himself is one of these poles. The militias operating inside Tripoli also want to practice their own control and influence.
The Muslim Brotherhood also pulls the strings from behind the curtain.
On the other hand, the international community was in a hurry to recognize the GNA and al-Sarraj. Nonetheless, in doing this, the same international community has overlooked the provisions of the Skhirat Agreement which limits the authority of the GNA prime minister and necessitates the presence of power-sharing inside the Presidential Council.
Libyan political analyst Mohamed al-Raiesh believes the current conflicts within the Presidential Council can lead to the collapse of the council itself.
The council, he said, was significantly weakened by the resignation of some of its members.
“The fact that Metig is turning from an ally to an enemy of al-Sarraj is also seminal,” al-Raiesh said.
He said Metig hails from Misrata which has a lot of political and military weight in Libya.
“This change will significantly undermine the power al-Sarraj has,” al-Raiesh said.