Beyond Political Deadlock, Libya Not Keen on Elections
Libya seems to be shy of holding the already delayed presidential and parliamentary elections. The Libyan people need a legitimate administration to step away from political stagnation and division. The country failed to proceed with elections in 2021 and 2022. And the same may be for 2023.
Abdoulaye Bathily, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya and head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya, accused Libyan officials of running away from elections. He accused the officials of exploiting this to conceal their failures.
Delayed elections have complicated the legitimacy crisis in Libya between Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah, who heads a transitional government in Tripoli (the capital), and Prime Minister Fathi Bashagha, who was appointed by a parliament in the east.
Libya Torn by Rival Governments
The power struggle cannot be overlooked because it undermines peace efforts in the country. The two rival governments are backed by foreign actors, making the political crisis more complicated. Bathily believes majority of Libyan leaders don’t want to hold elections and don’t want stability to be restored. “They only care about making gains from oil revenues.”
The envoy highlighted the lack of trust between the east-based parliament and the High Council of State. It affected attempts to draft electoral laws. Moreover, Bathily’s attempts to bring together to dialogue parliament Speaker Aguila Saleh, High Council of the Presidential Council Mohammed al-Menfi, and Libyan National Army commander Khalifa Haftar have faced a lot of resistance.
As such, the United Nations doesn’t want the elections to lead to more instability or bloodshed in Libya. “The Libyans must be able to have a voice, but in order to do so, the leaders of this country must decide to assume their responsibilities. They must cease their constant excuses that foreign meddling in Libya was preventing the crisis from being resolved.”
Libya Was Better off Under Gaddafi
Since the 2011 West-led uprising against Muammar Gaddafi, Libya has not been able to stabilize politically. There’s no doubt that the absence of democratic elections only worsens economic insecurity, heightens political instability and risks igniting new conflicts. From 2014, competing governmental institutions, geopolitical rivalries have profoundly complicated Libya’s security situation.
Libyan people and the respective stakeholders are still hopeful and optimistic about a potential path out of political stalemate through elections.