The walkout by the largest bloc in the General National Congress (GNC), the National Forces Alliance (NFA), was confirmed on 8 January following the continued absence of MPs from the bloc. The NFA has blamed their boycott on excessive delays in establishing the Constituent Assembly charged with drafting the Constitution; unilateral decisions made by the president and prime minister, inaction in the face of security threats and violent disturbances of GNC sessions.
Whilst Prime Minister Ali Zidan has formed a committee to determine the future of the 10,000 strong National Guard and the GNC has committed to setting up its own armed force to protect its premises due to the chambers persistently inadequate protection, security threats have continued. The 1 January deadline to disband and integrate the HSC has passed and it is too early to establish whether the GNC has maintained it’s commitment to withholding salary payments in the New Year to absentees.
The lack of security across the country since the revolution has been highlighted by figures reported by the Ministry of the Interior. According to the Ministry; crime has soared in Libya in the past year. The murder statistics and shop thefts represent alarming increases; 503 percent and 448 percent respectively.
The Libyan, Algerian and Tunisian prime ministers have agreed on a major upgrade of cross-border security, cracking down on the smuggling of people, drugs and arms and on terrorism during recent talks held in Ghadames. The meeting coincided with French military intervention into northern Mali on 11 January against rebels affiliated with Al Qaeda. The tripartite meeting reflects the premier’s fears that Salafist fighters and refugees may be pushed out of Mali and into the country’s northern neighbours. Border insecurity had previously been highlighted in December, when Libya closed its borders with Algeria, Niger, Chad and Sudan.