Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Libyan presidential election postponed again

Written by Frédéric Dubessy on Tuesday, January 25th 2022 à 16:25 | Read 274 times

National elections in Libya are constantly postponed (photo: Minusmil)
National elections in Libya are constantly postponed (photo: Minusmil)
LIBYA. Monday 24 January 2022 was supposed to be an election day in Libya. But on Saturday 22 January 2022, the High National Elections Commission (HNEC) indicated that, despite being technically ready to organise them, it was not possible to maintain the political roadmap for this presidential election.

This decision came as no surprise to anyone. Even though Stephanie Williams, the UN Secretary General's Special Adviser on Libya, said on Thursday 20 January 2022 during a visit to Libya that she had heard "time and again the overwhelming desire of Libyans to go to the polls to determine their future and to end the long period of transition through inclusive, free, fair and credible elections". She also said, "I have also heard their hopes that elections will be part of the solution and not part of the problem in Libya." A total of 2.8 million people have registered to vote in the first presidential election in the country's history.

This is the second time that the date of the presidential elections (and also the legislative elections) has been postponed. The Libyan government, encouraged by the UN, had initially set 24 December 2021 as the date for the election. It then abandoned the idea at the last moment and set a new deadline of 24 January 2022. A fortnight ago, the committee in charge of monitoring the elections in the Tobruk parliament refused to endorse this timetable and demanded "a new realistic and applicable roadmap, defining its stages, instead of setting new dates and making the same mistakes".

Democratic institutions have a hard road ahead

The disagreement between the interim government of Abdel Hamid Dbeibah appointed in March 2021 and the parliament in the east of the country, the legal appeals lodged on the eligibility of several candidates, the non-publication of the list of candidates, all points that make it unlikely that elections will be held in the short term. This "should not be used to undermine the stability and progress made in Libya over the past 15 months," said Stephanie Williams.

Since the permanent ceasefire signed in October 2020 by the belligerents, the adoption of a roadmap in January 2021 by the Libyan Dialogue Forum set up in November 2020, the appointment of a transitional government, Libya has not managed to take the extra step. The step of setting up democratic institutions that would allow it to finally move on to the post-conflict period after ten years of civil war.

The UN Special Representative reiterates her wish that the elections be "inclusive, free, fair, peaceful and credible and that the outcome be accepted by all parties. Farhan Haq, spokesman for UN Secretary General António Guterres, added that "it is imperative that the will of the people be respected. Presidential and parliamentary elections must take place in Libya under the right conditions to peacefully end the political transition and transfer power to democratically elected institutions."

HNEC has asked the House of Representatives to provide a new date within 30 days for the first round of the presidential elections.

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