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Libyan rivals try to reach agreement on future elections


Written by Frédéric Dubessy on Thursday, April 14th 2022 à 16:19 | Read 1504 times


Representatives of the Libyan parliament and High State Council are holding talks in Cairo to define a solid constitutional basis for holding national elections.


Cairo hosts rival representatives, around Stephanie Williams, to put Libya's election back on track (photo: Unsmil)
Cairo hosts rival representatives, around Stephanie Williams, to put Libya's election back on track (photo: Unsmil)
LIBYA. On Wednesday 13 April 2022, representatives of the Libyan Parliament (House of Representatives - HoR) and the Libyan High State Council (HSC) began talks in Cairo. At the centre of the discussions, orchestrated by the United Nations Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), is the holding of national elections in this country that is more divided than ever.

Despite a permanent ceasefire signed in October 2020, the situation in Libya remains increasingly tense. Abdel Hamid Dbeibah, Prime Minister of the Government of National Unity (GNU) appointed in March 2021 by the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum, still refuses to step aside in favour of Fathi Bachagha (former Minister of the Interior), who was brought to power by the Tobruk Parliament, which has been sitting in the east of the country since 2014, to replace him. Libya is thus left with two prime ministers in the capital Tripoli, each managing business on his own.

Initially scheduled for 24 December 2021, then postponed to 24 January 2022, the presidential election could never be held. The main reason was the GNU's failure to accept the new rules unilaterally defined by the parliament and the difficulty in agreeing on the validation of certain candidates.

The Tobruk Parliament therefore launched a procedure to appoint a new interim Prime Minister. Its president, Aguila Saleh, believes that Abdel Hamid Dbeibah has failed in his mission to organise this transition to the ballot box and therefore considers that his mandate is over. However, there was a split on this interpretation among the deputies.

This analysis is obviously not shared by the head of the Government of National Unity. He is planning to hold legislative elections in June 2022. Nor is it shared by the international community, which is alarmed by the fact that the division of the country is deepening instead of healing. The purpose of the election was precisely to unite the Libyan people around a President (the first elected in the country's history) to finally break the political deadlock. But also to allow Libya to experience peace in order to rebuild itself after a decade of successive civil wars since the removal and assassination of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Elections "ultimate solution to Libya's problems"

In Cairo, the delegates of the Parliament and the High Council of State, twelve from each chamber, will begin a marathon of discussions, the end of the negotiations being scheduled for 20 April 2022. The United Nations wants to obtain a consensus from these talks in order to be able to organise national elections with a presidential election first, followed by legislative elections from which the future Prime Minister will be chosen.

"The ultimate solution to the problems that continue to plague Libya lies in elections, organised on a solid constitutional basis and an electoral framework that provides safeguards for an electoral process that clearly defines the stages and timetable ahead," said Stephanie Williams, the UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Libya, at the opening session of the talks in the Egyptian capital. A statement from the UN Support Mission in Libya even specifies "fair, credible, transparent and inclusive elections".

Stephanie Williams is behind the formation of this joint committee of the House of Representatives and the High Council of State to resolve this issue. "Your role is essential to make your voice heard in support of the 2.8 million of your citizens in Libya who have registered to vote," she told the representatives at the opening of the first session.

Read our six-part investigation on Libya's political and economic prospects.

 



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