UN-Backed Libya Talks Fail Election Consensus | Middle East News

Libyan delegates failed to agree on a legal framework to hold presidential and parliamentary elections later this year, the United Nations said, endangering an agreed roadmap to end the conflict in this country. country.

The Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF), a 75-member body from all walks of life in Libya, concluded five days of talks on Friday at a hotel outside Geneva, the United Nations support mission in Libya announced on Saturday.

Participants in the UN-brokered talks discussed several constitutional base proposals for the elections, some of which were inconsistent with the roadmap that set the vote for December 24. Others sought to establish the conditions for the elections to be held as planned, the mission said. .

The UN mission said LPDF members have created a committee to bridge the gap between the proposals submitted to the forum. But the impasse remained.

“It’s unfortunate,” said Raisedon Zenenga, the mission coordinator. “The Libyan people will certainly feel disappointed because they still aspire to exercise their democratic rights during the presidential and parliamentary elections on December 24. “

The mission urged members of the forum to continue consultations to agree on “a workable compromise and cement what unites them”. He warned that proposals which “do not make the elections feasible and possible for the holding of elections on December 24 will not be accepted.”

“This is not the outcome that many of us were hoping for, but it is the best outcome given the options that were on the table,” forum member Elham Saudi wrote on Twitter. “It only delays the battle, but does not solve the problems. “

From Tripoli, Al Jazeera’s Malik Traina said the lingering divisions between Libya’s main political groups have proved insurmountable.

“It was a created body [by the UN] help build consensus and reach agreement. They [the delegates] were supposed to propose a constitutional framework for the elections to be held in December, but they are deeply divided.

“Despite the appointment of an interim government in February, each side presented a different candidate. Libya is still divided on how to hold the elections in December, ”he said.

The UN criticized

More than two dozen LPDF members criticized the UN mission for its proposal that the forum vote on suggestions that included keeping the current government in power and holding parliamentary elections only.

Richard Norland, the US special envoy to Libya, accused “several members” of the forum of apparently trying to insert “poison pills” to ensure that elections do not take place “or by prolonging the constitutional process or by creating new conditions that must be met for elections to occur ”.

“We hope that the 75 Libyans of the LPDF will once again dedicate themselves to enabling the 7 million Libyans across the country to have a voice in shaping the future of Libya,” he said.

Christian Buck, director of the Middle East and North Africa at the German foreign ministry, urged LPDF members to stick to the roadmap for the December elections.

“Any postponement would open the door to dangerous scenarios,” he tweeted.

Difficult road

The interim government, headed by Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, was appointed by the forum earlier this year in a vote mired in corruption allegations. Its main mandate is to prepare the country for the December elections in the hope of stabilizing the divided nation.

Libya has been plagued by corruption and unrest since a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. In recent years, the country has been divided between a government recognized by the UN in the capital, Tripoli, and rival authorities based in the east of the country.

Each camp was supported by armed groups and foreign governments. The UN estimated in December that there were at least 20,000 foreign fighters and mercenaries in Libya, including Turkish, Syrian, Russian, Sudanese and Chadian troops.

In April 2019, Commander Khalifa Haftar and his forces, backed by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, launched an offensive in an attempt to capture the capital, Tripoli. Haftar’s 14-month campaign collapsed after Turkey stepped up military support for the UN-recognized government with hundreds of soldiers and thousands of Syrian mercenaries.

Last October, a ceasefire agreement was reached which led to an agreement on the December elections and a transitional government that took office in February. The deal called for a request that all foreign fighters and mercenaries leave Libya within 90 days, but that request has yet to be met.

About Wesley V. Finley

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