Libyan parliament suspends activity amid political crisis

The situation in Libya, far from being directed, appears to be moving away from any hint of reconciliation. After postponing the general election that was supposed to take place on December 24, the news coming from Tripoli did not invite optimism. Libya’s parliament decided to suspend its activities Tuesday until next week after seeing frustrated attempts to implement one of the measures they hoped to approve to reverse the destabilizing situation the country is currently experiencing. In fact, one of the priority goals is to set a new date for the election, something that is impossible because no action has been put forward for the vote.

AFP / GREGORIO BORGIA – Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeiba

Last Monday the first trial in Tobruk ended after failing to advance in the election date. The announcement of the postponement of the election was made by Imad al Sayeh, president of the Libyan Electoral Commission, in a statement that reads that “After consulting the technical, judicial and security reports, we inform you of the impossibility of holding elections on 24 December 2021”. However, the parliamentary president has yet to announce the official reason for the suspension as no specific reason is mentioned in this statement from al Sayeh.

Another unresolved question is what will happen to the Government of National Unity led by acting Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibé. His candidacy is in fact one of the most important controversies surrounding the election because, according to election law – and the promises he made while he was in office – Dbeibé cannot run in the election. Especially, An election commission set up by parliament recommended changing the Executive because they considered that the current one did not work to provide the necessary stability for the country to hold elections.

AFP / MAHMUD TURKEY – Photo file, electoral college in Tripoli, November 8, 2021

The same commission also criticized Dbeibé’s candidacy claiming that it was against the principles of “fairness and equality”. However, there is something they agree on in the chamber, such as criticism of British interference, which says it does not recognize the “parallel formation of governments or institutions” and that it “supports no one” currently in Libyan politics. This statement from the British Embassy does not match Tripoli, which qualifies as “Violation of diplomatic norms.” Abdel Wahab Zuliya, a member of the DPR, also claimed that it was “blatant and illogical interference”.

On the other hand, the UN special envoy in Libya, Stephanie Williams, wants to remove the controversy from the UK and reminded that the main thing now is to refocus its efforts on holding elections. However, the cessation of parliamentary activity is not a good indication of the development of talks between sectors that appear to be increasingly polarized. All of this was fueled by a candidacy that was surrounded by controversy as the acting prime minister was not the only one.

PHOTO/BELA TREZZINI/KEYSTONE via AP – Stephanie Williams has been appointed special adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Libya, as announced by the UN on 6 December 2021

Khalifa Haftar or Saif al-Islam Gaddafi are two big names who are not without controversy. Moreover, the second one was rejected by the election commission at the first instance to later facilitate his candidacy by the Sebha court which accepted the appeal filed by the son of dictator Muammar Gaddafi. But beyond these odds, the discontent on the Libyan streets is enormous. After 10 years in a climate of instability following the NATO-backed ouster of Gaddafi, elections seem just around the corner until election day delays have stopped optimism in its tracks.

“Libya must hold elections on time. We reject any delay or manipulation of Libya’s will “said activist Mohamed Alorfy at a demonstration in Benghazi, according to Arab News. Alorfy’s words are representative of a society that has seen one of the goals in which the international community has been working with the Forum for Political Dialogue in Libya (FDPL) for more than a year. Nonetheless, the delegations of the United States, Britain, France, Germany and Italy have jointly requested the setting of a new date for the elections as soon as possible and to bring about the long-awaited democratic transition.

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