Op-Ed: 50 days to Libya elections: No sign of consensus

The post-tyranny Libya – a country that ended the 42-year reign of Gaddafi – is possible heading toward the first presidential election, along with the second parliamentary election, as per the agreement by all political parties and foreign stakeholders who met in Geneva and gave birth to the Government of National Unity via the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum earlier this year.

The Government of National Unity has been tasked with a very important mission: leading Libya to elections on December 24; the Day of Libya Independence, by managing the country and providing funds for all the relevant authorities, including the High National Elections Commission, to prepare for elections, but most importantly, the government was tasked with unifying institutions and establishing trust and reconciliation, a very long shot.

Elections Looming, Consensus a Long Shot

With only fifty days to go for elections’ date on December 24, Libya’s infrastructure and political coherence is still in need of a lot of fixing. For a starter, the High Council of State (HCS) and House of Representatives (HoR) are still in disagreement regarding the validity of the elections laws issued by the HoR, with the HCS accusing it of violating the Libyan Political agreement and Libyan Political Dialogue Forum’s terms in devising and passing those laws singlehandedly.

The HCS’s Head, Khalid Al-Mishri, went as far as saying that there are some countries that don’t want stability in Libya and are creating hindrances by making the HoR issue inapplicable laws or laws that can’t bring about acceptable results, adding that the elections laws on the table now weren’t issued by the HoR alone, rather they were devised in Cairo, and Paris under the supervision of Abu Dhabi, in addition to the malign efforts of UNSMIL, which he accused of working in violation of Security Council resolutions, despite the envoy’s efforts to commit to them.

Al-Mishri told a regular session of the HCS this week that some UNSMIL employees are working as informants for foreign intelligence and are trying to send a message that the High Council of State and House of Representatives won’t reach consensus and thus UNSMIL should back the HoR’s legislations, which he said were written in foreign capitals.

New Polls, Same Faces

Libya is supposed to be heading toward a new democratic phase, where the Libyan people get to choose a president, a very important transition after 10 years of fragmentation. However, the list of candidates who so far have come forward with their intentions to run for presidential elections, whether saying it out loud in public or hinting at it, includes former ministers and officials like the ex-Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha, ex-Presidential Council member Ahmed Meiteeq, some war criminals like Khalifa Haftar and his backers, HoR Speaker Aqila Saleh, and HoR spokesman Abdullah Blehiq, and some foreign-agenda-driven persons such as Aref Al-Nayed, UAE’s man in Libya.

Another possible candidate is the current Prime Minister, Abdul-Hamid Dbeibah, who despite signing a written promise with the UN-backed Libyan Political Dialogue Forum not to run for elections if he ran the Unity Government to elections, is rumored to be preparing to announce he is running for Libya president.

Gaddafi’s son, Saif Al-Islam, could also be running for president of Libya after making a written and audio interviews lately with New York Times, saying that running for president of Libya isn’t off the table.

Hope and Doubt

With all what’s going on in Libya now and after all the efforts by local and international stakeholders, the people are hoping that they will be able to go to the polls and choose their own leaderships, despite the fact that the same political elite is running for elections, but to them, better choosing those elites willingly than being forced on them.

By: Abdulkader Assad – Political Analyst


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