Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Libyan Parliament and High State Council Speakers to meet in Geneva

Written by Frédéric Dubessy on Friday, June 24th 2022 à 15:18 | Read 1413 times

The Palais des Nations in Geneva will be the setting for a meeting between the respective presidents of the Libyan Parliament and High Council of State (photo: city of Geneva)
The Palais des Nations in Geneva will be the setting for a meeting between the respective presidents of the Libyan Parliament and High Council of State (photo: city of Geneva)
LIBYA. The UN will organise a meeting between Aguila Saleh, Speaker of the House of Representatives (HoR), and Khaled el-Mechri, his counterpart in the High Council of State (HCOS), on 28 and 29 June 2022 in Geneva. The two agreed to meet in Switzerland, at the Palais des Nations which houses the United Nations Office, Stephanie Williams said on Thursday 23 June 2022.

The objective of the Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General on Libya is to relaunch discussions on "the draft constitutional framework for the elections", as she wrote on her twitter account. "I congratulate the leaders of both chambers for their commitment to seek consensus on the outstanding issues after the joint committee meeting last week in Cairo," Stephanie WIlliams said.

On Monday 20 June 2022, Khaled el-Mechri already indicated his availability to discuss the "outstanding issues" with the HoR President. However, he wanted the meeting to take place in Libya, in Ghadames "far from the political polarisation", but agreed to go to Geneva. So did Aguila Saleh.


New failure in Cairo

Before the meeting in the Egyptian capital (12-19 June 2022), the third and final round of negotiations, the special advisor had pounded her fist on the table and demanded an agreement. "After eleven long years of division, dysfunction, conflict and chaos, the Libyan people are exhausted," she said, giving the delegates present from the House of Representatives and the High State Council a one-week deadline "to achieve the best possible positive outcome".

It was a lost cause. The representatives of the Parliament, sitting in Tobruk in the east of the country, and those of the High State Council, the equivalent of the French Senate based in Tripoli in the west, did not manage to agree on a common text intended to define the rules for the holding of a presidential election and legislative elections. Nor on a political transition or immediate elections. "Differences remain regarding the measures for organising the transitional phase leading up to the elections", the UN mission in Libya could only note. Even though Stephanie Williams noted some progress: "the joint committee reached a broad consensus on the contentious articles of the draft Libyan constitution", she was pleased.

The talks will now take place in Geneva, at the highest level, directly between the two presidents of these chambers.


Two rival prime ministers

The stakes are high, as the two camps - whose division is widening the fracture of the country with the risk of provoking a third civil war - must reach an agreement on the conduct of a presidential election and legislative elections.

The election of a President, the first ever in Libya, is confronted with this lack of common vision. Each party is pushing its pawns and its candidate. The presidential election was supposed to be held on 24 December 2021 before being postponed to the end of January 2022 and finally not taking place

Since March 2022, two prime ministers have been vying for power. One interim Prime Minister, Abdelhamid Dbeibah, was appointed in March 2021 by the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum with the task of leading the transition within a government of national unity until an election takes place. His mandate officially ended on Wednesday 22 June 2022, but he will only agree to step down after a parliamentary election. The other, Fathi Bachagha, was chosen in February 2022 and confirmed in March by the House of Representatives. He is based in Sirte as he is unable to travel to the capital.

They oppose each other, through rival armed militias, even in the capital Tripoli. This does not favour an agreement on the highly important issue of elections, the only way to bring serenity to this country ravaged by two successive civil wars since the removal and assassination of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Fathi Bachagha sent a letter to Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary General, on Wednesday 22 June 2022, stating that he would "make every effort to organise elections in Libya as soon as possible."

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