Libyan politicians were scheduled to meet in Morocco on Monday to finalize a compromise on new electoral regulations, but any agreement they announce on voting procedures or a new interim administration is sure to spark opposition, delaying the political process even more.
House of Representatives (HoR) Chairman Aguila Saleh and High State Council (HSC) Chairman Khaled al-Mishri traveled to Morocco early this morning, expecting to reach a deal, according to a HoR member and Meshri’s spokesperson.
After months of stalemate, the two would almost certainly characterize any agreement as a huge breakthrough – If a settlement is achieved this month, U.N. ambassador Adoulaye Bathily has stated that national elections could take place by the end of the year.
However, 61 HoR members and several HSC members have already objected to the manner in which their leaders negotiated their accord and have stated that they will vote against its confirmation.
Disputes over core constitutional problems such as the function of a president and parliament, as well as crucial electoral law concerns such as the eligibility of contentious candidates, have long plagued Libya’s political process.
The country has had little peace or security since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that ended four decades of rule by Muammar Gaddafi. Libya split in 2014 between warring eastern and western factions that still control most territory.
Since the main groups agreed to a truce in 2020, peace efforts have centered on advocating for national elections in order to construct governance structures with broad political legitimacy, which the existing bodies are widely perceived to lack.
The House of Representatives was elected to a four-year term as a national parliament in 2014. The HSC was established in 2015 as part of a political agreement between members of an earlier interim parliament elected in 2012.
The Government of National Unity in Tripoli, led by Prime Minister Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah, was established in 2021 as part of a United Nations-backed process, but it was only scheduled to govern until the conclusion of that year’s national elections.
Since the December 2021 election was called off due to rules disagreements, both the HoR under Saleh and the HSC under Meshri have disputed Dbeibah’s government’s legitimacy.
However, under a political agreement signed in 2015, the international community expects both organizations to accept any new constitutional rules allowing for an election or a change in government.
Many Libyans are skeptical that their political leaders are bargaining in good faith, believing that they are unwilling to hold elections that would remove them from office.