Tripoli, Libya | Xinhua | Political instability will likely persist in Libya as a United Nations-backed transitional phase, outlined in a roadmap for the North African country in 2020, expired this week, Libyan analysts say.
The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) facilitated the first round Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) in November 2020 in Tunis. The 75 participants in the LPDF, representing all spectrum of Libyan society, agreed on a political roadmap for the country.
However, several milestones of the roadmap were missed in the past year, including the holding of national elections scheduled for Dec. 24, 2021. The LPDF roadmap also set the expiration of the transitional phase on June 22 this year, provided that presidential and parliamentary elections are held by then, which has not been the case.
Jalal al-Fituri, a Libyan law professor based in Tripoli, believes the rival Libyan parties’ failure to reach a final agreement after the expiration of the roadmap will further complicate the country’s politics.
Libya is currently at a political impasse. The eastern-based House of Representatives, the parliament, withdrew confidence from Prime Minister Abdul-Hamid Dbeibah’s Government of National Unity in Tripoli, which was backed by the UN, and voted on March 1, 2022, to install a new government led by Fathi Bashagha. Dbeibah has rejected the legitimacy of the March vote and said he would only transfer power to an elected government. Bashagha has since sworn in a new cabinet, which held its first meeting on April 21.
In Mid-May, the parliament-approved government, headed by Fathi Bashagha, entered Libya’s capital Tripoli and tried to take over the power from Dbeibah’s Government of National Unity. Shortly afterward, clashes erupted across central Tripoli between armed groups affiliated with the two sides.
The head of Libya’s Tripoli-based High Council of State and the speaker of the House of Representatives have agreed to meet in Geneva next week to discuss a constitutional framework for elections after talks in Egypt’s Cairo on a constitutional basis for elections ended without a breakthrough.
The current political scenario is the result of both sides attempting to hold onto their power. To resolve the impasse, there needs to be an international agreement on a solution or new roadmap, said Tripoli-based political analyst Imad Jalloul.
“The rival parties are waiting for their respective supporting countries to reach a consensus on a new, workable proposal. It is impossible to overlook certain countries that have the ability to influence Libyan politics, whether negatively or favorably,” he said.
“Security assurances cannot be provided in Libya. The country is comparable to a dormant volcano that might erupt at any time. Therefore, an international consensus-based new solid roadmap and solution are urgently needed. Support must be given to the Libyan people’s decision to organize presidential and parliamentary elections,” said Jalloul.
Omran al-Najah, a Tripoli-based expert on security affairs, believes that the failure of reaching a quick political agreement between rival parties in Libya may lead to an armed flare-up at any time.
Efforts must be made to defuse the tension between the rival parties and urge them to agree on a solid framework to prevent them from contesting political legitimacy, he said. ■