UN-brokered Libya talks end without a deal on elections

Talks on constitutional and legislative preparations for vote to resume next month

Libyan Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah says he will only hand power to an elected government. Reuters

A week of negotiations to arrange elections in Libya ended without a deal on Tuesday, the UN said.

Lawmakers from rival factions met in Egypt for talks on constitutional and legislative arrangements for elections.

Twelve deputies from Libya's eastern parliament and another 12 from the High Council of State, an advisory body in the capital Tripoli, took part in the discussions.

UN special adviser on Libya Stephanie Williams said the groups agreed to reconvene after Eid Al Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan. The holiday falls in the first week of May.

The talks were held as Libya slips slowly back into the chaos and violence that prevailed for most of the past decade after a short-lived respite.

In February, the House of Representatives in the east named a new prime minister, former interior minister Fathi Bashagha, to lead an interim government.

MPs in the House said the mandate of interim Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, who is in Tripoli, expired when an election scheduled for December failed to take place.

People hold a protest in Tripoli against Fathi Bashagha, who was appointed prime minister by the country's eastern parliament. AP

But Mr Dbeibah has rejected efforts to replace his administration and said he would only hand over power to an elected government.

With the two leaders sticking to their positions, signs of turmoil grew and there were reports of heavily armed militias in the west, including Tripoli.

Tribal leaders and protesters in the south also shut down oil centres, including Libya's largest oilfield, and called for Mr Dbeibah to step down.

The region is controlled by forces led from the east by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar.

The developments have raised fears that fighting could return to Libya after a period of relative calm since warring parties signed a UN-brokered ceasefire in 2020.

Libya’s descent into lawlessness began in 2011 when a popular uprising toppled longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi.

Updated: April 19, 2022, 1:28 PM
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