In an emotional speech to his peers carried live on TV, GNC head Mohamed Magarief tendered his resignation this evening as head of Libya’s legislative body.
Magarief, anticipating that he would have to leave his post soon by virtue of the newly enacted Political Isolation Law (PIL), had decided to leave gracefully rather than wait for the soon to be constituted PIL Commission to remove him.
The former GNC head is disqualified by virtue of the section of the PIL law that bars any former ambassadors under the Qaddafi regime from holding high office.
There is also a clause in the PIL law that allows for the GNC to exempt a person from the law – if they felt it was in the national interest. There obviously did not seem to be enough consensus in the GNC to apply this to Magarief.
“The representatives of the people have decided on the Political Isolation Law and we must respect their legitimacy and accept it as I will be one of the first to accept it and put my resignation before you” said Magarief wearing a traditional white Libyan cap.
Magarief, his voice quivering and reaching for a tissue from the box before him on the podium to wipe away a tear added “I leave you head high, conscience clear and financial integrity clear, except for one plot of land on which my house was before it was destroyed by the old regime in 1984 and the remainder of my salary”.
“After the sacrifice…the nation still awaits more. Sacrifice is not forced upon people…it is taken by choice. A nation that does not appreciate those who sacrifice is denying its history”, added Magarief, hinting at his thirty-odd years in opposition to Qaddafi abroad.
“I missed the old Libya after thirty years. The forgiving, kind, united Libya. But it will be back”, he added.
In concluding he apologized if he fell short of people’s expectations in his role as head of the GNC, saying that he only had one vote in Congress, after all.
At the end of his speech, Magarief received a standing ovation from his peers.