Libya’s Electoral Commission said that it can only start a countdown to national elections after they were blocked by a row over a new government, reports The Arab Weekly and agencies, October 17.
Abdoulaye Bathily, the UN Special Representative for Libya and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) said on October 16 that elections could only be held once the issue of the forming of a new government is resolved.
Division-laden Libya has two rival factions in the east and the west. The internationally recognised Tripoli-based government is in the west whilst the east is under the control of Libyan National Army (LNA) commander Khalifa Haftar.
Fighting amongst the two rival establishments is not uncommon – especially this year – as the country has lacked stability since the demise of strongman Muammar Gaddafi back in 2011.
Following the announcement of fresh electoral laws by the eastern parliament’s speaker, aimed at resolving long-lasting conflict through the process of elections, Bathily addressed the UN Security Council.
Regarding the new electoral laws the UN diplomat said, “From a technical perspective the revised laws are an improvement to the previous drafts,”.
Although he acknowlledged the step in the right direction, Bathily remained wary of the sizeable progress that still had to be made.
He added, “From a political perspective, the most politically contentious issues remain unresolved,”.
The topics that remain contentious are the forming of a new government, acting as referee for the elections and a rule that would mean an obligatory presidential run-off would take place even if a candidate were to gain over 50 percent of the vote in the primary round.
The 64-year-old has been Libya’s ruler since 2021.
The Arab Weekly/Reuters