US ambassador: Libya elections can proceed in the presence of two governments

The US ambassador to Libya, Richard Norland, said on Tuesday that it could be possible to hold national elections without resolving a standoff between two rival governments and that a mechanism to oversee spending could help with governance for an interim period, Reuters has reported.

Norland told Reuters in an interview that while he was optimistic that Geneva talks this week could resolve the impasse, there were ways to move forward without a single Libyan government.

“Factions that dominated different parts of the country could separately lead those areas toward a national election.” Reuters explained.

“The reality of the Libyan political scene is that no single actor can produce an outcome. The only formula that’s going to work is for the key actors to get together and negotiate a compromise.” Norland said.

He said that if this week’s Geneva talks between Libya’s two legislative bodies on a constitutional basis for elections did not produce a deal, he expected further negotiations that would build on areas already agreed.

The US, he said, and international partners have held meetings with Libyan figures to work out agreements on spending priorities, transparency, funding allocations and oversight of how money is used.

“It’s essentially a committee and you want the right people and the right organizations,” he added, including from state auditing bodies, the parliament, finance ministry and others.

Norland said there had been buy-in from eastern and western factions to the idea, and that it would require broad involvement so that “the various political strands in the country feel their interests are being addressed.”

“A mechanism to resolve financial disputes over oil revenue is key to reunifying the central banks. This mechanism could provide a short-term pseudo-governmental function until elections take place so the sooner that happens the better for all Libyans.” Norland added.


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