LIBYA-ELECTIONS-2021-FOREIGN-POWERS
The first elections since the end of the war between the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord and Benghazi-based Libyan National Army are scheduled for Dec. 24. (Reuters/File Photo)

Libyan Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah supported the holding of a national election on Dec.24 as envisaged in a U.N.-backed peace plan. The situation has improved significantly since the Berlin Process began in 2019. Libya descended into civil war; it was possible to end the lengthy crisis that has engulfed the country since the NATO-backed uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, and international actors provided increasing military support for this war over time.

For the first time since 2014, Libyan elections can result in a democratically mandated government that is recognized throughout the country. This election is a crucial component of the peace process and an express demand on the part of Libyan civil society, which is essential for the reconciliation of all parts of the country. It is now important, therefore, to rapidly make all necessary preparations to enable free and fair elections to take place.

The United Nations process and foreign powers want to support the efforts of the higher election committee to hold (the vote) on the planned date. They also make awareness of this election a key step in efforts to end a decade of violence by creating a new political leadership whose legitimacy is widely accepted.

However, some forces want to break up Libya from within, working on instability. For example, the parliament has issued a law for the presidential election and a separate law saying the parliamentary election will happen at a later date. Other political institutions in Libya have rejected the parliament’s proposals. In addition, any critical issues about holding an election without widespread acceptance by rival political institutions could lead major factions to reject the vote, which would trigger another violent schism and Libya would struggle again, but this time without any support from the United Nations. At that time, it is very important to unify the country’s fragmented armed forces and engage with two broad coalitions in the east and west to resolve the role of foreign powers and mercenaries in Libya.

With the Berlin Process, the Federal Government is supporting UN mediation efforts to end the conflict in Libya. Which were extended invitations to a total of six expert meetings in September 2019. The conference aimed to bring the parties to the conflict in Libya together, and a ceasefire entered into a political process.

The ceasefire agreement for the conflict in Libya was reached in Geneva on October 23, 2020. After that, Libya formed a transitional Government of National Unity in February 2021 under the supervision of Abdulhamid Dbeibah. The political movements tended to reform processes, the expression of the country, and the conclusion of agreements with neighboring countries for reconstruction. Agreements were concluded in all fields with Egypt.

After that, the second Berlin conference on Libya, which took place at the Federal Foreign Office on June 23, 2021, made two core demands: first, the holding of parliamentary and presidential elections, which are scheduled to take place on December 24th, and second, the withdrawal of all foreign mercenaries and forces.

The transitional government is working to hold long-awaited elections later this year, but security and political and economic stability are necessary for a peaceful transition to a new government, so Libya needs support from foreign powers.

The elections should pave the way for the unification of the Libyan military, a cease-fire, the expulsion of mercenaries, and all foreign forces should leave the country. Furthermore, keeping in check any major players that may seek to sabotage the process and the elections, if they believe that they will, their interests are threatened.

© The Eastern Herald
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Miral Sabry AlAshry
An Associate Professor at Future University in Egypt(FUE), Political Mass Media Department. Author of the book - The Struggle for Libya. Contributor to The Eastern Herald from Egypt.