Libyan Prime Minister Calls for New Constitution Before Any Elections

Libyan Prime Minister, Abdul Hamid Dbeibah has stated that a new constitution should be in place before any presidential or parliamentary elections.

Addressing an audience at a symposium in Tripoli over the weekend, the PM said the country is in dire need of a constitution that protects the nation and safeguards the presidential and parliamentary elections.

“Libyans want free elections that respect their will, not the extension of the crisis with a new transition.

“Our problem today is the absence of a constitutional base or of a constitution,” Dbeibah said.

Libya collapsed into years of violence after the 2011 overthrow and killing, during a NATO-backed revolt, of dictator Moammar Gadhafi who scrapped the country’s constitution in 1969. The unrest led to rival power bases and administrations arising in the country.

After a landmark cease-fire in 2020, a United Nations-led process saw elections scheduled for Dec. 24 last year, but the polls were postponed after months of tensions, including over divisive candidates and a disputed legal framework.

The event brought together high-profile figures from Libya’s west including Khalid al-Mishri, who heads the High Council of Staterivals, the House of Representatives in the eastern city of Tobruk.

Critics said the move bypassed due process and favored a bid by Saleh’s ally, eastern-based putschist Gen. Khalifa Haftar.

Dbeibah, Saleh and Haftar all put their names forward for the presidential vote.

An official from the elected commission in charge of drafting a new constitution, Daou al-Mansouri, told Sunday’s symposium that the body had in July 2017 submitted a draft constitution to the House of Representatives.

The draft was supposed to be put to a referendum, which has never been organized.

Saleh on Tuesday proposed establishing a new commission of Libyan and foreign experts to draw up a new draft constitution.

He also called for a new interim government to be established, and said that by the end of January, a “definitive” date for the postponed polls needed to be set.

Meanwhile, a group of 62 Libyan parliamentarians reiterated their support to Dbeibah’s unity government.

An initiative unveiled by the lawmakers on Sunday called for an agreement between Libya’s legislative and executive authorities in a bid to end the current political impasse in the country.

The lawmakers also called to hold parliamentary and presidential elections “at the earliest possible time.”

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