Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Libyan parliament splits over presidential election

Written by Frédéric Dubessy on Wednesday, March 9th 2022 à 16:05 | Read 227 times

The President of the House of Representatives in Libya, Aguila Saleh, wants to replace the head of government by another he has invested (photo: DR)
The President of the House of Representatives in Libya, Aguila Saleh, wants to replace the head of government by another he has invested (photo: DR)
LIBYA. Abdel Hamid Dbeibah, appointed head of the Government of National Unity (GNU) since March 2021 refuses to give up his post despite the election, on 10 February 2022 by the House of Representatives (HoR) in Tobruk, of a new Prime Minister in the person of Fathi Bachagha.

On Tuesday 8 March 2022, Abdel Hamid Dbeibah received fourteen ambassadors posted in Tripoli, mostly Mediterranean.
(Algeria, Egypt, Spain, France, Greece, Italy, Tunisia, Turkey and the European Union) to reaffirm his willingness to hold elections "as soon as possible" in order to "respect the will of the Libyan people." He still refuses to hand over power without a prior legislative vote to appoint his successor from the winning party. Abdel Hamid Dbeibah wants to call for elections in June 2021.

As stated in a GNU press release, the meeting in the capital was aimed at "shedding light on the political developments in the country and presenting the position of the unity government, as the elected executive authority" on this issue. The head of the government is basing himself on a mandate from the Libyan Political Dialogue which would have set the duration of the interim executive at eighteen months, thus until 24 June 2022.
The foreign diplomats stressed "the imperative to preserve the calm and the achievements of this stage and to work towards holding successful elections".

A commission to enable a vote

Stephanie Williams continues to advocate the establishment of a commission to draft a constitutional rule to allow Libyans to go to the polls quickly. The UN Secretary General's Special Adviser on Libya called on the House of Representatives on Friday 4 March 2022 to select six members from among its members to participate in this commission. On Tuesday 8 March 2022, from Algeria, where he was on an official visit, Nicola Orlando, special envoy to Libya of the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, reaffirmed his "strong support" for this initiative aimed at free, transparent and inclusive elections. In unison with the European Union countries, he called for "respect for the unity, sovereignty and stability of Libya" and "rejects any foreign interference in its affairs.

On Tuesday 8 March 2022, Fathi Bachagha, confirmed in his post by the HoR and the High Council of State, published a video on his Facebook page revealing that his government will take power in the capital Tripoli in the next two days by "the force of law and not the law of force." He refuses to run a parallel government and wants "an effective government representing the eastern, western and southern regions, using all Libyan expertise." He advises his opponent not to resort to conflict.

A bloc of opponents facing the Speaker of Parliament

The Parliament, which supports the new head of government for having put him in place, defends a different position than the UN and the European Union. It argues that the failure to organise the presidential election - initially scheduled for 24 December 2021 and then 24 January 2022 - effectively ends Abdel Hamid Dbeibah's mission.

Voices to the contrary are beginning to be heard within the institution itself. According to the local press, one MP, Mohammed Al-Raied, is forming an opposition bloc called "MPs against the extension of the mandate". But the one targeted is that of Aguila Saleh, the HoR president. Mohammed Al-Raied, who hopes to gather a hundred elected officials on his side, denounces the occupation of this position for eight years by the latter.

The representative of the Misrata region stresses that Aguila Saleh mismanages the parliament and works in defiance of the rules to protect his own interests and those of Marshal Khalifa Haftar. The former strongman of the east of the country had tried to seize Tripoli by force to reunite the country and is now a candidate for the presidency of the Republic.

Mohammed Al-Raied wants elections as soon as possible so that the transition period can end. "To claim that the Government of National Accord is responsible for not holding elections on time is delusional. The HoR has obstructed its work and has not approved its budget," he said. "With the strength of the people and the help of the international community, Saleh's plan will fail and the unity government will remain in power until it hands over to an elected authority," he predicts.

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