Libya Political Leaders to Meet on Electoral Regulations

FILE PHOTO: Parliament head Aguila Saleh attends a session to discuss approving new government, in Sirte, Libya March 8, 2021. REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori/File Photo

To finalise a compromise on new electoral regulations, Libyan politicians were scheduled to meet in Morocco on Monday. However, any agreement they announce on voting rules or a new interim administration is likely to spark opposition, which could further stall the political process.

Aguila Saleh, the speaker of the House of Representatives (HoR), and Khaled al-Mishri, the head of the High State Council (HSC), left for Morocco early in the morning with the intention of concluding a deal, according to a HoR member and Meshri’s spokesperson.

The two would probably portray any agreement as a significant victory following months of impasse; U.N. envoy Adoulaye Bathily has stated that if an agreement is achieved this month, national elections may be held by the end of the year.

However, 61 members of the HoR and several HSC members have already voiced their displeasure with the manner in which their leaders have been negotiating the terms of their accord and declared they will not support its ratification.

The political process in Libya has long been plagued by disagreements over core constitutional problems, such as the roles of the president and parliament, as well as important concerns of electoral law, such as the eligibility of contentious candidates.

Since the NATO-supported revolt in 2011 that put an end to Muammar Gaddafi’s four decades of reign, the nation has had little peace or security. Libya split in 2014 into rival eastern and western factions that continue to hold the majority of the country’s territory.

Peace efforts have centered on pressing for national elections since the main groups reached a truce in 2020 in order to establish governance institutions with broad political legitimacy, which the existing bodies are largely perceived to lack.

As a national parliament, the HoR was chosen in 2014 for a four-year tenure. Members of a prior interim parliament chosen in 2012 formed the HSC as part of a political arrangement in 2015.

As part of a U.N.-backed process, the Government of National Unity in Tripoli, led by Prime Minister Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah, was established in 2021, but it was only intended to rule until national elections that were scheduled for the end of that year.

Both the HoR under Saleh and the HSC under Meshri have questioned the legitimacy of Dbeibah’s government ever since the December 2021 elections were called off due to disagreements over the rules.

However, as per a political pact from 2015, the international community demands that both bodies accept any new constitutional provisions that permit an election or a change in the head of state.

Many Libyans have expressed doubt about the sincerity with which their political leaders are engaging in negotiations, believing that doing so would risk their removal from office.


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