Wednesday, November 1, 2023

“UN Libya Envoy Calls for Unified Government Ahead of Election: A Significant Change”


UN Envoy Calls for Unified Government in Libya Ahead of Elections

United Nations Libya envoy Abdoulaye Bathily has emphasized the need for a unified government in Libya before holding elections. This marks a shift from his previous stance, which prioritized elections over forming a new interim government. The internationally recognized Government of National Unity (GNU) in Tripoli has been rejected by the eastern-based parliament since early 2021, leading to ongoing conflict and instability in the country.

The Dangers of Unresolved Conflict

Last week, armed factions clashed in Tripoli, resulting in the deaths of 55 people. This incident highlighted the urgent need for a resolution to Libya’s ongoing conflict. The UN has been advocating for national elections despite the differences between factions, but Bathily’s recent statement suggests that a unified government is necessary to ensure stability and pave the way for fair and transparent elections.

Challenges and Obstacles

Libya has faced significant challenges since the NATO-backed uprising in 2011, followed by a split between eastern and western factions in 2014. While a cease-fire was reached in 2020, there is still a lack of trust between the main factional leaders. Many Libyans believe that their political leaders are more interested in maintaining their positions of power than in achieving a lasting settlement or facilitating democratic elections.

Tim Eaton, a Libya researcher at Chatham House, explains that while negotiations for a new interim government may have some potential for success due to the incentives for rival factions to participate, the motivation for holding elections diminishes once the interim government is established. Bathily’s lack of leverage further complicates the situation.

UN Envoy’s Efforts

Bathily has been actively engaging with the House of Representatives and the High State Council, two key bodies involved in Libya’s political landscape, to finalize electoral laws. In his address to the United Nations Security Council, he expressed his intention to convene a meeting of the main stakeholders or their representatives to address major issues and move towards a unified government.

Among the key players mentioned by Bathily are Mohammed Al-Menfi, the head of the Tripoli-based Presidential Council, Aguila Saleh, the speaker of the House of Representatives, Abdulhamid Al-Dbeibah, the GNU Prime Minister, and Khalifa Haftar, the eastern commander. Bringing these influential figures together could potentially pave the way for a comprehensive political agreement and a unified government.

The Road Ahead

While the path to a unified government and fair elections in Libya remains challenging, Bathily’s shift in approach reflects the evolving dynamics on the ground. The UN envoy’s emphasis on a unified government as a prerequisite for elections acknowledges the need for stability and trust-building among the major players.

Libya’s future hinges on the ability of its political leaders to prioritize the country’s interests over their own. The international community must continue to support efforts for dialogue and reconciliation, while holding all parties accountable for their actions.

Ultimately, a unified government that represents all factions and ensures inclusivity will be crucial for Libya’s long-term stability and prosperity. Only through a transparent and democratic electoral process can the country move towards a brighter future, free from conflict and division.

As UN envoy Bathily works towards convening a meeting of the main stakeholders, the international community must rally behind these efforts and provide the necessary support to facilitate a comprehensive political agreement. The road ahead may be challenging, but with determination and commitment, Libya can overcome its current challenges and pave the way for a more peaceful and prosperous future.

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