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The Libyan parliament has announced a modified timetable for the presidential and legislative elections, which are supposed to end chaos in the country, and which are now expected to be held one month apart when they were scheduled for the same day, December 24.
The Libyan legislative elections will take place at the end of January, one month after the presidential election, held on December 24, said Tuesday (October 5) the spokesman of the Parliament, Abdallah Bliheq, during a press conference broadcast from Tobruk, the seat of the House of Representatives.
According to him, the postponement of the legislative elections is explained by the priority nature of the presidential ballot. “In recent years, the country has not managed to stabilize itself through the parliamentary system (…), for the House of Representatives, it was necessary to organize the presidential elections as soon as possible”, a- he asserted.
On Monday, Parliament passed the law governing legislative elections, just over three weeks after the ratification of another controversial text framing the presidential component of the ballot. The two votes were originally scheduled to be held on December 24, in accordance with a roadmap drawn up under the auspices of the UN to help Libya emerge from a major political crisis.
The Libyan High Council of State (HCE), a body acting as a Senate, has not yet reacted to Parliament’s announcement. However, he had already announced on Tuesday that he would reject the electoral law adopted by Parliament on Monday, saying that he had not been consulted. The HCE was also opposed to the one governing the presidential election, deeming it tailor-made for the strongman of the East, Khalifa Haftar.
A decade of chaos
The North African country is trying to turn the page on a decade of chaos since the fall in 2011 of the regime of Muammar Gaddafi, ousted from power and killed after eight months of popular revolt, in the wake of the Arab Spring. From 2015 to early 2020, Libya was at the heart of a power struggle between the former Government of National Unity in Tripoli, recognized by the UN, and a power embodied by Marshal Haftar in the east of the country.
After the failure of the offensive launched by the septuagenarian soldier in April 2019 to seize the capital, the two camps concluded a ceasefire last October. The month following this truce, the UN initiated an interlibyan political dialogue, which culminated in the establishment last March of a unified government, led by businessman Abdelhamid Dbeibah, who had obtained a vote of confidence. of Parliament, hailed as “historic” by the international community.
Appointed alongside a three-member Presidential Council, he was tasked with unifying institutions and pulling the country out of internationalized conflict by successfully transitioning to elections.
And if, in theory, Libya now has united power, the eastern region of Cyrenaica remains de facto controlled by Marshal Haftar, head of the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (ANL) and likely presidential candidate.
Despite the political progress of recent months, the oil-rich country remains undermined by the weight of militias, insecurity and the presence of foreign forces. According to the UN, more than 20,000 mercenaries and foreign soldiers are still in Libya, among them Turkish soldiers, Russian, Sudanese and Chadian mercenaries.
On Sunday, the Libyan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Najla al-Mangoush, announced the beginning of a “very modest” withdrawal of these foreign fighters. The human rights situation is also a cause for concern: war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in Libya since 2016, a UN fact-finding mission concluded on Monday.