By Sami Zaptia.
London, August 18, 2021:
In a stormy session yesterday, the Libyan parliament, the House of Representatives (HoR), approved the law to elect Libya’s next president by direct popular vote on December 24, 2021.
The rowdy session was broadcast live by HoR’s own TV channel, Mustaqbal Channel, and the sound had to be cut several times and the transmission of the image was eventually cut off when the members looked like they were start to fight.
Reports from western Libya say the troublemaker was opposing parts of the law that could have prevented Khalifa Hafter from running for president or returning to office if he had not won the election . HoR chief Ageela Saleh threatened to have the rowdy member removed by security just before the transmission was cut.
Session and transmission were later restored, and the electoral law was passed unanimously. It was then referred to the Legal and Constitutional Commission for final drafting.
The third draft budget has been released
HoR official spokesperson Abdalla Belheeg also confirmed that the third 2021 draft budget to be received from the government has been distributed to members for possible consideration during next Monday’s session.
At first glance, the approval by parliament yesterday of half of the electoral law (the law on parliamentary elections has yet to be approved) may give the impression that Libya is getting closer to holding the elections on December 24, 2021.
However, it will be recalled that the adoption of this law was carried out by the HoR unilaterally and without “consulting” the High Council of State (HSC). Libya’s current political roadmap, the Libyan Political Agreement of Skhirat 2015 (LPA), states that the CoR must âconsultâ the CSS on important decisions.
The CSS considers the holding of elections to be a major decision. The HoR did not consult her on this electoral law, if consulting means obtaining approval.
The alternative reading of the LPA by HoR
However, the HoR has an alternative reading of the PLA and believes that the roadmap of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) that followed makes it imperative to hold the elections on December 24, 2021 on time and therefore replaces the PLA. . The HoR believes the HSC is filibustering on all fronts and is not interested in holding the elections.
A referendum on the draft constitution
The HSC wants the elections to take place only after a popular referendum on the draft constitution has been held and only if the public approves the draft constitution. However, the constitution drafting law stipulates that the draft constitution must be consensual and approved by the Libyan ethnic minorities.
Ethnic minorities disapprove of the draft constitution
The Amazigh minority withdrew from the drafting process, boycotting the possible draft presented and approved by parliament. This means that it is very likely that the draft constitution and all subsequent elections held on its basis will be successfully challenged in court. This could make the next elections, if they are successful, null and void.
A short-term solution to get out of the 10-year political quagmire?
The next election may only be a short-term solution. However, many Libyans, UNSMIL and the international community see it as the only way out of the Libyan trap. They see it as a necessary evil to get Libya out of its ten-year transitional political quagmire in which it has found itself stuck since the 2011 revolution that toppled the Gaddafi regime.
Status quo of anti-election forces
They see the status quo forces in western and eastern Libya, including the militias, the HSC, HoR and possibly Khalifa Hafter, as doing justice to the elections while working in the background to sabotage them. .
Elections for elections
There is also a school of thought that holding another round of elections, such as the 2012 and 2014 elections, would only act as a centrifugal force as opposed to a centripetal force, causing more chasms and divisions. in the country than to unify it.
They believe the elections should take place after more reconciliation and an agreement on the country’s social contract rather than after.
Need a strong, legitimate and mandated government
From a practical point of view, the international community needs a strong, legitimate and empowered Libyan interlocutor with whom to deal in order to be able to help move the country forward.
This stronger legitimate government would have a mandate to make strong and often difficult decisions to reform the system inherited from the Gaddafi era to improve the delivery of desperately needed services to the Libyan public.
They see early elections as the quickest step, but not necessarily the last, in this scenario.