The former Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on Libya, Stephanie Williams, said in a policy brief published on Brookings Institution after the passing of two years since the Libyan ceasefire agreement signed in Geneva, that the candidacy of Khalifa Haftar and the Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah sparked a deep controversy, as Haftar’s coup attempt in April 2019 killed a large number of civilians in western Libya, while Dbeibah acted in bad faith by violating The pledge he made during the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum in February 2021 that he would not present himself as a presidential candidate.
Williams added that Libya’s wily and opportunistic post-2011 ruling elite – a network of security, political and economic actors – continues to prioritize patronage and its own transitory deals above the future of the country.
She said that the specter of Muammar Gaddafi is still haunting the country, as evidenced by the sudden entry into the presidential race of Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi last year, indicating that Libya is facing a dilemma of democracy, referring to what she described as “the fear” that some potential presidential candidates, if elected, would take everything, one person, one vote, leading to a return to the era of Muammar Gaddafi.”
Williams explained that the agreement on a constitutional basis for the elections had recently stopped due to Haftar’s insistence on language that would allow candidates to retain a second citizenship (in his American case), and said that the House of Representatives and the High Council of State could end the work that began in Cairo in March 2022 through coordinated international pressure.
She indicated that Libya has retreated from the headlines of the newspapers and ceased to be a priority in many capitals, with the international community’s attention focused on the Ukrainian crisis.