Chance of holding elections in Libya on time dims, experts say
Analysts say the chance of holding the Libyan national elections in December 2021 has begun to shrink significantly after the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) talks in Geneva failed.
On Saturday, the United Nations announced the LPDF meeting aiming to reach a final agreement on the constitutional basis regulating the upcoming elections failed after a strenuous five-day negotiation in Geneva.
"The LPDF has demonstrated beyond any doubt that the Libyan settlement issue is very complex, and even influenced by the overlapping foreign parties negatively and clearly. Therefore, the consensus on the constitutional basis regulating the upcoming elections is in the hands of these countries that have different and conflicting interests," Khaled al-Muntasir, a Libyan professor of international relations, told Xinhua.
The recent LPDF talks witnessed a difference of opinions among many of the members. Some members were accused to have obstructed the talks.
"The international community should have imposed sanctions on the parties that obstruct the consensus process on this issue at this sensitive time, and even replaced any of the LPDF members who refused to pass the constitutional basis without real reasons," he said.
Members debated fiercely on whether holding parliamentary elections only or holding parliamentary and presidential elections at the same time.
"Some Western diplomats have talked about attempts by some LPDF members to thwart holding the upcoming elections on time. It seems that these attempts are not individual and casual, but rather are driven by the intelligence services of certain countries, as they felt that an imminent political solution In Libya would affect their direct interests. Thus. They felt it is necessary to thwart the dialogue at any cost," Libyan political analyst Faraj Al-Dali told Xinhua.
University professor Miloud Al-Hajj believes that the LPDF should be keen on reaching consensus and make concessions, as Libya has a golden opportunity for stability that has been missing for a decade.
"I believe that the United Nations and major countries will pressure the Libyan parties over the next few days to ensure that the scheduled elections are not delayed or disrupted. The alternative to the elections is the return of the war between the rival parties and this time if that happens, it would be a war of which price is very high in all respects," Al-Hajj told Xinhua.
The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) encouraged the LPDF members to continue to consult among themselves to pursue a workable compromise and cement what unites them.
"The Mission will continue to work with the LPDF members and the Proposals-Bridging-Committee to explore further efforts to build common ground based on the Legal Committee's proposal which all recognize as the reference framework for a constitutional basis for elections," UNSMIL said in a statement.
"In line with the LPDF Roadmap and the UN Security Council Resolution 2570 (2021), UNSMIL reiterates that proposals that do not make the elections feasible and possible to hold elections on 24 December will not be entertained," the statement said.
The LPDF selected a new executive authority of a unity government and a presidency council, ending years of political division in the country.
The main task of the new government is to prepare for the general elections to be held on Dec. 24, as endorsed by the LPDF.