Libya's eastern parliament rejects UN initiative to organise elections

Elections originally scheduled for December 2021 have been postponed indefinitely amid political disputes

A UN press conference on Libya in June, in Geneva. AFP
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The eastern Libyan House of Representatives has said it is opposed to the latest initiative announced by the UN to help the country organise presidential and legislative elections later this year.

The parliament said the formation of a dialogue committee is one of its responsibilities and pledged not to work with external parties, according to a statement released on Tuesday.

Abdoulaye Bitali, the UN envoy to Libya, on Monday had told the UN Security Council he would launch an initiative “aimed at enabling the organisation and holding of presidential and legislative elections in 2023.”

Elections were originally scheduled for December 2021 but were postponed indefinitely because of differences over candidates and rules on participation.

“In this regard, I plan to establish a high-level steering panel for Libya”, the Senegalese envoy said.

The panel would be responsible for facilitating “the legal framework and time-bound road map” for elections as well as working to “advance consensus” on security and a code of conduct for candidates.

Forces loyal to Libya's Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah in Tripoli in May, after forces of the rival Tobruk-based government withdrew following heavy fighting. AFP

The mechanism would bring together “institutions, important political figures, tribal leaders, civil society organisations, security actors, women [and] young people”, the UN envoy said.

The parliament accused the UN envoy of failing to be impartial with regard to Libyan parties and accused him of being responsible for disrupting the elections.

Libya has been embroiled in a protracted civil war since the fall of Muammar Qaddafi's regime in 2011.

Since March last year, an administration in Libya's east backed by military leader Khalifa Haftar has challenged the UN-recognised government of Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, arguing it has outlived its mandate.

With input from agencies

Updated: February 28, 2023, 1:25 PM