Libya’s eastern, western administrations end the election

Officials from Libya’s Tripoli and Tobruk-based administrations ended week-long discussions in the Egyptian capital Cairo without an agreement on constitutional arrangements for elections, according to a UN statement.

Twelve lawmakers from Libya’s eastern parliament and 12 from the High Council of State, an advisory body in the western Libyan capital Tripoli, took part in the UN – mediated talks that ended on Monday in Cairo.

The UN Special Adviser to Libya, Stephanie Williams, said that officials agreed to meet again next month after the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan.

Williams said the UN was working to reconcile the consensus reached earlier this year between the two chambers with a view to reaching an agreement on a constitutional and legislative framework for parliamentary and presidential elections.

Libya failed to hold its first presidential election on December 24 during a UN-led reconciliation effort.

Now the country is once again with two rival administrations. The country’s East-based House of Representatives appointed a new prime minister, former Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha, to lead a new interim government in February.

Lawmakers claimed that the mandate of interim Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, who is based in the capital Tripoli, expired when the election failed. However, Dbeibah insists he will remain prime minister until elections are held and the High Council of State, which advises the interim government, has said it was “wrong” for parliament to appoint a new prime minister before the election.

Libya plunged into chaos after a NATO-backed uprising in 2011 overthrew longtime dictator Moammar Gaddafi. For several years, it has been divided between rival administrations in the East and the West, each with the support of a number of militias and foreign governments.

In April 2019, the East-based putschist General Khalifa Haftar and his forces, with the support of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), launched an offensive to conquer Tripoli. Haftar’s campaign collapsed after Turkey and Qatar increased their military support to the Tripoli government.

Mediated by Williams, then acting UN envoy, an agreement on a ceasefire from October 2020 led to the formation of a transitional government with Dbeibah as prime minister and planned elections until December 24, which have now been postponed.

The United States and Britain strongly supported Williams’ efforts to promote dialogue between the feuding parties leading to elections, but Russia did not.

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