From War To Democracy: New Elections In Libya By February 2021 – OpEd


Libya will go to democracy and freedom with new national elections. The two warring sides agreed to a ceasefire last week to start a new role for Libya. Libya has been split since 2014 between factions based in the capital Tripoli, in the west, and in the city of Benghazi, in the east.

Last week a truce was agreed in Geneva by the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) and Khalifa Haftar’s eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA). The political talks have started online and will move to Tunis on Nov. 9. The United Nations was imperative to agree on arrangements to hold elections as soon as possible, including by forming a new unified leadership to oversee them. This step needs from the governments to have a clear focus – preparing for the elections.

In addition, progress to end an eight-month oil blockade and reopening internal transport routes, and involvement of figures from across Libya’s political spectrum are in progress.

Libya has suffered from the war from thee 2011 ‘Arab Spring’ and the fall of Gaddafi when the protests and though out Gaddafi. People had endured just over forty years of Muammer Gaddafi’s rule, which involved limits on freedom of speech, and a heavy and violent police state. Libyans had grown tired and frustrated with living under a tightly controlled and corrupt dictatorship and they still do, in the same way. These protests quickly evolved into a rebellion and a civil war between Gaddafi loyalists, and those who wished to oust his government, and fighting would go on for several more years. This fighting also involved NATO military intervention, which bombed military sites but also collaterally civilian areas.

Since 2011, Libya has gone through several government changes, which has led to a long stretch of both political and economic instability. So maybe the new elections can control the country again not like in the past with the General National Congress (GNC) who were elected in July 2012, with the primary goal of establishing a new constitution for Libya.

In addition, the two main political parties who formed this Congress were deeply divided on key issues and failed to reach any real compromises. These two parties were the National Forces Alliance, divided into a predominantly liberal group, and the Justice & Construction Party, a group associated with the Muslim Brotherhood. These divisions were happening; Libya’s security situation grew worse and worse with the second civil war was triggered. The second situation with the House of Representatives (HoR) was elected, on the other side, the Islamist groups rejected the election results and continued to support the old GNC. Also, the GNC voted itself in as a replacement and declared the HoR government dissolved and took this declaration as a threat.

The Libyan people have lived with instability and violence for nearly a decade, and they’re now facing ever-worsening living conditions without health care, inflation of the prices, economic instability, poverty, and the worst with an electricity crisis and Water. As a result, both governments are corrupt, and they cannot continue with the way things are. Interventions from the UN with the Commission of 10 agreed in the Ghadames meeting to form a military sub-committee to supervise the withdrawal of all forces and mercenaries from the frontlines. The Commission also agreed to locate its headquarters in Ouagadougou Conference Halls in Sirte.

The Commission of 10 agreed to meet in mid-November in Brega with the two chiefs of the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) and the Head of the National Oil Corporation (NOC) to discuss the reformation of PFG. Moreover, the committees will focus on the withdrawal of foreign mercenaries and heavy weapons until all forces return to their previous positions and the area to be covered by the joint force after the withdrawal of the forces will be from south Soukna, all across Libya will be tasked with securing the area from which the forces will pull out, adding that all forces will be withdrawing from the regions, cities, and towns in which there were armed conflicts across the country; starting with Sirte and Jufra.

All of that it is hoped will open the floor for new elections with twenty-nine elected mayors from cities and regions across Libya and elections to be held by February 2021, the Transitional Constitutional Declaration said, stressing that HNEC is able to hold parliamentary elections within a period of 120 days. Following the transitional Constitutional Declaration including the needs to speed up the holding of parliamentary elections end of February 2021, the Presidential Council has to provide the material support required to hold parliamentary elections, UNSMIL must accept full responsibility for these elections and the next elected House of Representatives shall exercise its functions for two years, without extension.

The goal of that is going to be to firmly set the roadmap for national elections because that is the one way that the Libyan people can restore their sovereignty and exercise their right to elect their representatives.

Prof. Miral Sabry AlAshry

Prof. Miral Sabry AlAshry is Co-lead for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) at the Centre for Freedom of the Media, the Department of Journalism Studies at the University of Sheffield.

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