Libya draws closer to high-risk presidential elections

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UK government “is waging a secret war on transparency”


Libya has come close to high-risk elections after the election official said he would draw up the voters list this week, open nominations for president in November and hand out voting cards in a few weeks.

Facing strong internal resistance to holding elections, he insisted that the presidential election would be held in two stages, with a second round and parliamentary elections would then be held together.

He said each presidential candidate will require 5,000 nominations. It will be the first time that Libya will be ruled by a president.

The announcement by Dr Emad al-Sayeh, head of the High National Electoral Commission (HNEC), was intended to give momentum to the march towards the elections, but he did not set a date for either of the two rounds of the elections, and admitted that basic details of how the country’s constitution and elections work remain to be worked out.

Various internal actors are trying to derail the elections, either because they hold power in the current provisional configuration, or because they really fear that elections in a divided country, inundated with foreign mercenaries and with a ceasefire. fragile fire, can lead to violence that is not limited to the country but the region.

Zara Linghi, member of the United Nations Libyan Political Dialogue Forum, said the NHEC now has the potential to become the institutional guarantor of elections in Libya. She told the Guardian: “Yes, there are risks in holding an election, but there are more risks in not holding an election. The last source of stability for this country will come from democratic legitimacy and a reset. It has now been a decade with almost no legitimacy, and we have ended up with a government run by kleptocrats. “

The United States and some other foreign powers are putting massive pressure on the Libyan political class to maintain public support for the elections on or around the scheduled date of December 24, arguing that the country will never recover if it is. run by illegitimate administrations.

Security has improved as Mohamed Salah, considered by many to be the best football player in the world at the moment, was able to travel with the Egyptian squad to beat Libya in Benghazi in the east of the country at the start. of the month, something that would have been deemed impossible a few years ago.

UN ceasefire monitors have started arriving in Libya to monitor an internally generated ceasefire that went into effect exactly one year ago. But an agreement has not yet been reached on the phasing out of as many as 20,000 mercenaries and foreign fighters.

But a sign that the interim government appointed by a UN body in February is maneuvering to avoid elections, foreign powers have been forced to intervene this week to prevent a government-organized stability conference in Tripoli from slowing down the elections.

Former Libyan-US council chief Fadel Lamen said early versions of the Stability Conference statement were clearly designed to postpone elections and unfreeze Libyan assets abroad, and hand them over to the interim government .

He said: “The stability initiative was aimed at prioritizing stability and therefore postponing the elections on the grounds that Libya is not ready for them. We must move forward with the elections being aware of the consequences of not holding them for the whole region. “

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